Core services include roads, parks, libraries, and refuse collection. Looking at the Waiheke Local Board (WLB) long term plan as part of Auckland Council’s 10 year plan we see a perfect example of David’s words.
The WLB Plan identifies five main goals for the next ten years (2016-2025). Let us look at each in terms of core services.
- Support construction of pensioner and community housing. Non-core. Government responsibility
- Continue to maintain and develop our local parks. Well yes, they have to whether or not the WLB exists
- Foster the establishment of an environmental hub. Non-core service.
- Continue to support and develop community environment and restoration programmes. Standard practice on Waiheke although sadly diminished under this Board.
- Remediate Little Oneroa Stream. I know this is unnecessary from the environmental reports during my three years on the first WLB. The first Waiheke Local Board commissioned a report looking at the whole catchment area. The main problem is one of perception rather than reality. A waste of time and money. At best this is a minor small local improvement project.
So the best the WLB can come up with for a ten year plan to shape the future of Waiheke, after endless public consultation, at a cost to the ratepayer in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, is two status quo goals of maintaining current services, two non-core goals and one small local improvement project. That’s it.
Over the next ten years the population of Waiheke will keep expanding at a rate of over 200 new residents a year. That’s 2000 more people living on the island by 2025. There is continuing growth in tourism, which will only accelerate now two ferry services are operating from the city. That means more tourist accommodation, more tourism ventures, and more tourism services will be needed.
What it all adds up to is increasing stress on local infrastructure. Yet the WLB’s plan does not even mention a single goal aimed at providing core infrastructure services for our increasing population and visitor numbers. No mention of improving roads, no mention of new footpaths, no mention of expanding sports and recreation facilities, no mention of expanding the facilities at the Matiatia transport hub.
The only mention of Matiatia is around the local board ‘advocating’ for local decision-making including management and control of the land at Matiatia. Dream on McDuff. No actual representation of the needs of residents and visitors to progress the many plans already in place to expand facilities there.
The BIG promise of a community swimming pool in three years, a promise on which they were elected, is reduced to an area of ‘advocacy’ during the next ten years, yet the Board continues to pump money ($50k so far) into ‘plans’ to progress a school pool to which the community will have little or no access. If ever there was an example of a Council body wasting ratepayers money on a non-core activity it is this.
Last but not least is the total waste of money implicit in the WLB’s goal for next year of commencing ‘development of a resource recovery centre and composting facility’. Waiheke is fortunate to have one of the most modern and efficient waste recovery centres in Auckland. No longer do we have to pay through the nose to be allowed to sort our own rubbish, knee deep in mud as we did in the ‘bad old days’ of hard left Green party list MP Denise Roche’s insanitary Waste Resources Trust dump.
It is Roche’s legacy that we still have the environmentally unfriendly plastic red bags littering our streets for dogs to open and strew their contents around the neighbourhood. But what Denise wants Denise gets, so off we go again trying to reinvent the wheel, to turn Waiheke back into a supposed Green utopian past which, in reality, was a dystopian nightmare. Thank goodness those days are behind us.
Never have local politicians been so out of sync with the needs of their community. Looking backwards will not solve the problems and expectations of a better future for Waiheke.