East and Bays Courier : June 8th 2012
www.eastandbayscourier.co.nz 8 EAST & BAYS COURIER, JUNE 8, 2012 NEWS Popular beaches harbour bacteria Wild west: Piha beach was one of the most problematic areas for water safety. Photo: LAWRENCE SMITH By JESSICA TASMAN-JONES Almost a quarter of Auck- land beaches and waterways were unsafe for swimming at some point over summer, an Auckland Council report has revealed. Some of the region s most popular and picturesque spots, including Piha, Karekare and Bethells beaches were the most prob- lematic areas for water safety over the five-month council testing period from November to March. One of the few central Auckland beaches to return unsafe readings was Judge s Bay in Parnell, where high levels of bacteria saw celebrations to mark the completion of a $4.9 million upgrade to the beach can- celled. Bacteria levels there reached amber mode mean- ing it was closely monitored by testing officers. Of the 64 beaches and waterways tested, 15 were found to have unsafe levels of bacteria, and less than half were bacteria free for the entire five-month period. The beaches tested returned safe readings 87 per cent of the time on average. The beaches and waterways were selected from more than 180 across Auckland for their popu- larity with swimmers, rec- reational users and shellfish collectors, and past risk of contamination. A summary of the results, taken between November and March, was presented to the council s Environment and Sustainability Forum last week. Chairman Wayne Walker said the forum noted lagoons were a particular area of concern but this was to be expected as sand blocked current flows which might otherwise remove the bac- teria. Lagoons around Piha, Karekare and Bethells beaches were prone to high levels of E.coli -- a bacteria which causes cramps and diarrhoea -- on a relatively frequent basis . West Coast sites made up the overwhelming majority of sites found to be unsafe, with 11 out of 15 reaching red mode meaning there was a significant risk to public health . When bac- teria levels reached this stage warning signs were put up urging people to not use the water. Laingholm Beach and nearby Wood Bay, both West Auckland beaches facing the Manukau Harbour, had the worst record. Testing at Laingholm over 22 weeks returned concern- ing levels of bacteria on eight occasions, and at Wood Bay on 10 occasions. On six occasions they reached red mode with unsafe levels of bacteria. Eight other beaches, including Te Atatu Beach, Long Bay and Takapuna Beach, also experienced high levels of the bacteria. Most red alerts came after heavy rainfall and at least two occasions coincided with sewerage overflow. Walker said the forum thinks future testing should be further refined to deter- mine the cause of high bac- teria levels and he believed some of this would be able to be achieved within existing budgets. We may not need to do the type of testing we re doing now to the same degree. I would guess we could apply some of the existing budget to some of the more refined tests because there isn t a lot of point in testing which comes up in the same answer the whole time. Funny guy dream comes true for comedian Golden moment: Stand-out stand-up comedian Guy Williams sports the prized Billy T Award yellow towel he won. Photo: HANNAH SPYKSMA Go to eastandbays courier.co.nz to watch a video of Guy Williams as he prepares for the Comedy Festival. By HANNAH SPYKSMA His mum, a Jerry Seinfeld tape, some stellar advice and a Wikipedia page all played a part in the success of comedian Guy Williams. The Freemans Bay resi- dent won the prestigious Billy T Award for outstand- ing comedian following the New Zealand International Comedy Festival. Receiving the accolade on May 20 was a dream come true for the 24-year-old who wrote the Wikipedia page for the prestigious award in 2008. It was a real privilege to wake up the morning after the ceremony and edit my own name in there, Mr Williams says. It s been a steady road to achievement for the com- edian who started doing stand-up four years ago. He got into the industry after discovering a comedy club during his student years in Wellington. I went along to it so often that I found I wanted to be up there on stage. Steve Wrigley was the first person I asked about how to do that, Mr Williams says. Mr Wrigley -- a former Billy T winner -- gave him advice to start strong, finish strong and not do anything offensive to annoy the crowd. That s what I did and it s been great ever since. He says it s a bit special to now be working with his former mentor on The Jono Project which is getting revamped and renamed this year. Mr Wrigley believes New Zealand s never really had a comedian like Mr Williams before. Once you ve got through the first few jokes you really start to get a handle on what his sense of humour is, Mr Wrigley says. He says Mr Williams is unique because he writes all of his jokes beforehand and shapes his show based on scripts -- but leaves a few elements to chance with each performance. I think that s the trick for a stand-up comedian, it s the difference between watching him perform live and just reading the Guy Williams joke book, he says. Mr Williams gets a guest appearance on the show 7 Days -- another dream come true -- as part of his prize. He describes his style as rather clean and a show he would like his parents to come and watch. My Dad even heckled me on stage one time, he says. His tales of small-town Kiwi lifestyle and love for basketball all play into scripts he writes. The Nelson-born per- former is a late bloomer to take to the stage but says his love for comedy started earlier than he realised, thanks to his mum. When I was growing up she had one tape in the car which was Jerry Seinfeld, he says. She played it over and over again so sub- consciously I learned about comedy through that. It s back to work on The Jono Project for now but Mr Williams hopes to tour New Zealand s small towns one day.
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