In recent years some residents have been privatising public land, effectively stealing common land for their own personal use. One way has been to extend the family vegetable garden into roadside berms. Some are well maintained but, many, after an initial burst of enthusiasm, are left to overgrow, becoming not much more than a rubbish heap and visual pollution for the neighbours. As well, they encourage vermin, especially rats, which in turn kill native birds and so the whole practice, instead of being environmental, becomes the opposite. Personally, I’d be very wary of eating vegetables from patches that any roaming dog has access to and are regularly ‘breathed’ on by exhaust fumes from passing traffic.
Road corridors are the conduit for essential underground infrastructure such as power lines and the recent installation of ultrafast broadband wiring. They are also the conduit for stormwater pipes that need regular maintenance and, in the case of outer areas such as Waiheke, may be needed for future road widening
So you’d think that the very last place a Local Board would think of investing our money would be in planting roadside berms.
Well, that’s exactly what the Waiheke Local Board (WLB) has been doing for the past two years. They have spent $80,000 of our money to plant fruit and nut trees, including olives, on berms. The first $20,000 was handed to some residents in Blackpool. A year on, we can see the results of the Board’s folly in the slideshow attached to this blog. Many trees have died already through poor planting, or lack of maintenance. Some have been stolen for planting in people’s own back gardens or been transported elsewhere as the occupants have moved on. Very few flourish. Those that do will likely disappear before they ever bear fruit when Auckland Transport needs to do essential road and storm water work. Should they survive, no provision has been made for on-going maintenance.
The empty holes and sticks in the ground guarding withered twigs bear witness to
this waste of $80,000 of our money, which was all so unnecessary. Had any of the current WLB members had any historic knowledge of Council business they would have known that berm planting has been tried before and failed. They would have consulted Auckland Transport, who manage the land, before going ahead with this Green Party vanity project and been told such a course of action was doomed to failure. Berms are an area over which Boards ultimately have no jurisdiction, which is why previous Community Boards and the first Local Board focused their tree planting on public reserves of which we have many.
In effect, the inexperience of the second Waiheke Local Board has been shown in their determination to follow the lead of hard left Green Party List MP, and professed bag lady, Denise Roche, and her partner John Stansfield. Stansfield calls himself ‘the dancing gardener’ and promotes appropriating public land for personal use. The results of his efforts at ‘gardening’ can be seen in the recent photo of his 'gone to seed' garden on a Waiheke berm in the slide show. With ‘gardens’ like this it is little wonder that Auckland Transport wants to see such weedy eyesores gone.
It is inexcusable that the Waiheke Local Board should waste $80,000 of ratepayers money on a 'feel good' vanity project that will bear little or no fruit. The few remaining trees are nothing but a berming nuisance.
Bad apples corrupt the barrel, or something rotten in the state of Blackpool
Embarassing video link on Youtube
The dancing gardener