The dramatic footage of a huge slip carrying away most of a hillside under a house in Oneroa was shown across all news media. The house appeared to be perched precariously on the side of the cliff after its swimming pool reportedly gave way under the weight of water and washed away the hillside beneath.
Whilst the damage is not as great as that inflicted by Cyclone Wilma in January 2011 it has nevertheless been extensive and will likely cost over $1 million to fix.
Nothing could demonstrate more clearly the stupidity of the Our Waiheke bid to ‘go it alone’. The $1 million contingency fund in the OW budget would be wiped at one blow. Goodness knows how a go-it-alone Waiheke Council would cope financially if tonight’s deluge adds significantly to the bill. As it is Auckland Council will fund the costly clean up.
Meanwhile John Meeuwsen, driving force behind the Our Waiheke bid, is a member of the last and current Waiheke Local Board. We can see from his stewardship of the island how the current emergency under his watch has been made worse by lack of action on the part of the Board. Instead of paying attention to core Council services like keeping the streets swept and the road gutters free of rubbish, Meeuwsen and Walden have allowed gutters to block and roadside rubbish to accumulate. They have actively opposed the installation of kerb and channelling, the best flood defence there is. This has resulted in unnecessary damage from floods and slips that could have been prevented by prudent management of core services.
I have pointed this out on numerous occasions and last October asked, ‘Will new Waiheke Board address urgent infrastructure problems?’
Lastly, if there is any budget at all, they should reinstate the street cleaner over the busy visitor period who will make additional rubbish bin pick-ups, toilet cleans and clear street gutters.
Once again the island has been let down by its elected representatives. The answer to the question I posed last October is ‘No, they wont’ to the cost of us all.