Alternative routes that comply with expert advice are being ignored by the Board. If the Board’s proposed route goes ahead all the hard work of those who have so far prevented the disease reaching Waiheke will be put at risk. There is still time to protest the Board's actions at this week's WLB business meeting.
The Te Matuku Track should have been completed three years ago. Money to complete the track was left in the funding pot by the first WLB. Instead this Board diverted the money to fund the lifestyles of the liveaboards on the Causeway. Even this project is incomplete and will, according to the Waiheke Boat Club (WBC), require yet more cash to finish. To date the WBC has received around $300,000.
Te Matuku Track sacrificed for liveaboards
Environmental, walking and tourism groups will be dismayed by the decision of the Waiheke Local Board to stop work on the Te Matuku Track Creek Esplanade extension from Pearl Bay to Orapiu so they can spend it on a few boaties and liveaboards on the Causeway instead.
The Te Matuku Track is the one of the final links in the Around Waiheke Walk, a project that has been part of the island’s long-term vision for all community and local boards over the last 25 years. A further project to open walking tracks on paper roads in the eastern end has also been stopped.
One reason the work has stopped because the projects are over budget and cannot be completed in time during this financial year. If that is the case then it can only be as a result of mismanagement on the part of the Board. The Board is warned in every agenda involving the allocation of SLIPs budget to be mindful of the timeframe for projects but has consistently failed to meet deadlines.
However, the real reason, according the the minutes of the last Board meeting, is that they have reallocated the money to another project, a boat washdown hard stand area, sea wall and footpath on the Causeway. This project urgently needed another $80,000 to complete.
To date the Causeway project has gobbled the lion’s share of the Auckland Transport Capital Fund of $200,000 p.a, money that is meant for urgently needed footpaths or small transport projects. A footpath, retaining wall and boardwalk in a Reserve/park don’t quite cut the mustard. Confusing a reserve upgrade with a bona fide transport function is just another example of the inability to understand their role and how to operate within Council budgets.
To add a further $80,000 of SLIPs money to an outrageously expensive boat wash down area for the benefit of a few boaties and liveaboards who don’t even pay rates is an outrageous waste of ratepayers’ money. It is rumoured that Chair of the Board, Paul Walden, has as many as five boats parked on the Causeway reserve.
Another has been the canning of two long term environmental initiatives for wetland restoration that were of regional and national significance. These had been initiated by the first WLB and were fully funded in the long term budget. As soon as this Board was elected funding was diverted to fund a junket around the Hauraki Gulf for themselves and their mates. The rest was frittered away on plans, consultant's fees and funding unaccountable 'Trusts'.
Environment Big Loser in SLIPS funding
The last Board had initiated a three year on-going wetland restoration on the Rangihoua and Te Matuku wetlands, the biggest restoration project in the Auckland region. The left over budget was intended to further progress these projects.
This is a Green Party Board with Essentially Waiheke members hand picked by hard left Green party list MP Denise Roche. They are showing themselves to be anything but environmental and sustainable. Wasteful is the word that comes to mind.