Few clues were given in last August’s local board meeting agenda as to what exactly was intended when the WLB voted more than $50,000 for ‘plans and drawings’ for a bridle bridge over O’Brien Road.
Back then it looked like an overbridge was planned to take horses more safely across O’Brien Rd, but six months later more details are revealed in the latest board agenda. If anything the reality is even worse than at first thought. There is an overbridge but it doesn’t go across the road. Instead it crosses a tiny creek on the same side of the road where a footpath and bridge across the creek already exist. A further $76,000 is to be allocated to this project from the Auckland Transport Capital Fund, one of the few remaining sources of funds left to the discretion of local boards.
The Auckland Transport fund is intended for small transport related projects such as additional footpaths or bus shelters or road safety that benefit the wider community. For example, there is a long outstanding list of footpaths asked for by residents, similarly for seal extensions of the island’s many unsealed roads. But, as far as I am aware, nobody has asked for a bridle bridge in a green belt area of the island where nobody lives. Except one.
This is a pure vanity project for local board Chair Paul Walden, whose love of horse riding is well known. Very few horses or pedestrians use O’Brien Rd. The only possible justification might have been to provide a safer passage for horses from the Riding Club on busy Onetangi Rd to bridle paths around Onetangi Sports Park, but even that lame excuse is null and void since a safer bridle path has only just been built for that very purpose from the riding club around the golf club lease area into OSP.
No, this is just one huge waste of ratepayers’ money.
Ratepayers on Waiheke are heartily sick of having their money wasted on vanity projects for the narcissist Walden. Vanity projects include his infamous $25,000 junket around the Gulf, his $10,000 slush fund, his $50,000 for a school pool that will never be built and now $130,000 for a bridle bridge to nowhere.
Having lost the people of Waiheke $12 million dollars in his first year and only able to come up with vanity projects like this bridle bridge one has to wonder if his narcissism isn’t turning into something more sinister. First he gets rid of his deputy for no reason, and now his board is talking about ‘going it alone’ because that other narcissist, Len Brown, wants everyone’s money for his own vanity project the CRL.
A sane response to Brown’s cuts to Council services would be to agitate for reforms to the mayoralty. Instead there’s a whiff of insanity in the Waiheke air as Walden gets desperate to blame anyone but himself for his own and his Board’s inadequacies and failures.
Putting Walden in charge of all ratepayers’ money would be a certain recipe for bankruptcy. The lunatics really would be running the asylum if voters are daft enough to fall for this latest insane idea. Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.