Now some of you may be thinking that a pedestrian bridge over Oceanview Rd might not be such a bad idea. After all, the current pedestrian crossing in the middle of Oneroa village causes a bottleneck for traffic going to and from the ferry in peak summer months. But, wait for it - no such luck.
Waiheke’s first over-bridge is planned for O’Brien Rd close to the junction with Onetangi Rd. O’where? I can sense that some of you will be scratching your heads at this juncture. Not only O’where? - but O’why? Far from being one of the busiest roads for foot traffic on the island, this road has very little. But wait, it gets even whackier. It’s not about pedestrians at all. The main reason is to provide safe access for - horses.
Yes, I know there are hardly any horses left at the Waiheke Adult Riding Club on Onetangi Rd. From memory, the Club membership was 15 when the last Local Board provided horse-riders (and walkers) with access from the Riding Club lease area to the rest of Onetangi Sports Park (OSP) around the perimeter of the Waiheke Golf Club lease area. This, for the precise reason of providing safe passage to OSP away from the busy Onetangi Rd and far less busy O’Brien Rd.
So why on earth would the Local Board now want to spend hundreds of thousands of ratepayers’ dollars on this absurd project? Well, let me see. Who on the Board is a horse rider? Of course, it’s the Board Chair, Paul Walden and his family. And whose land is just up the road along Onetangi Straight? None other than the Walden family property with plans to subdivide (see How Green is my Valley?). Call me cynical but I can see no other reason for this breathtaking waste of ratepayers’ money.
Worse still, is the conspicuous absence of those SLIPs projects that should be first off the ranks at the beginning of the financial year. In the Local Board report, there is nothing allocated to the nationally (Te Matuku) and regionally (Rangihoua) significant wetland restoration projects started by the former Local Board. These substantial, long overdue projects require an on-going, up-front commitment from SLIPs for the next few years if they are ever going to deliver the benefits of an improved ecological and recreational Island environment.
Once again, this is a case of a so-called ‘Green’ board showing its true colours, confusing its priorities and giving the thumbs down to the environment.
If you think Auckland Council has gone mad wasting millions of our money pressing ahead with a Skypath to Cloud Cuckoo Land for a few cyclists then Waiheke Local Board must be in la-la land to even contemplate spending hundreds of thousands on a Bridle Bridge to Brigadoon.