The consent for the tree’s removal required a trained expert to do the job because of the health and safety risk. Is Walden a trained expert? No, he is not.
On Waiheke such wanton acts of vandalism seldom go unnoticed, even at 6am in the morning, and this was no exception. After some probing on social media as to who was the culprit, the finger was firmly pointed at Walden. He eventually came clean and confessed it was indeed his doing.
Walden is a ‘cowboy’. This is yet another example of his arrogant ‘do as I say, not as I do’ behaviour. He has no respect for the oath he has taken to be in public office and no respect for the people he is supposed to serve. As an elected member of the Board, Walden is in a position of trust in the local community. If he is permitted to get away with such illegal acts why should any other member of the community not do likewise? The consenting process is put in place for the protection of property and people. The rules should exist for all or no-one.
And here’s the added hypocrisy of it all. When Progressive Enterprises wanted to remove several scrawny Pohutakawas (whose long-term growth was restricted by the power lines) from outside the new supermarket site in Belgium St, all hell broke loose and the Waiheke Green rent-a-mob swung into action. At great cost, Progressive was required to uproot the trees and replant them at the back of the site. No such treatment for the Pohutakawa on Council reserve!
Walden and the other self-proclaimed Greenie members of this Local Board were also vociferous backers of the actions of local resident Michael Tavares, who ‘saved’ a tree from being chopped down on private property in West Auckland when he climbed up it and sat there for a few days. The Board, the local Green mouthpiece - Gulf News and Waiheke environmentalists rushed to support him. Maybe this explains why Walden took such sneaky, covert action, hoping that nobody would notice.
Walden obviously decided that, with election time close at hand and the lack of progress on the Causeway clean-up plain for all to see, it was time to take the law into his own hands and speed up the process. Such impatience explains his cowboy reputation; first as a builder with no qualifications, resulting in a failed business and unpaid debts. Then in the political arena, courtesy of his backer and mentor, local Green Party list MP Roche.
The ratepayers of Waiheke have already, through the Walden dominated Waiheke Local Board, handed over more than $300,000 to the Waiheke Boating Club for the removal of contamination and installation of an anti-fouling wash-down area on the Ostend Domain, Causeway Rd area, occupied by the Club for decades. This is a job for the experts and the level of project management required exists within the Council bureaucracy. However, as per the loony left policy of this Local Board, it’s been given to a group of community volunteers. The Boating Club clearly lacks the expertise to manage such a project so it is no surprise that it has taken over a year to make much progress, apart from the removal of some old hulks littering the area. Local contractors have been loath to accept a fixed contract requiring removing of an unknown amount of contamination. So, this has been a painful, botched job all round.
The debacle on the Causeway has the overtones of the botched job of the Helipad at Onetangi Sports Park. Walden got impatient and decided to call in volunteers and local contractors, unapproved by Council or the tender process, to lay a concrete pad. Had he waited for due process, Waiheke would now have the 24 hour, all weather facility originally planned.
If you or I had performed this illegal tree chopping we would now be subject to investigation and possibly a hefty fine. It remains to be seen whether Council treats its cowboy politicians and ratepayers alike and puts Walden in his place.