The Hauraki Gulf Islands District Plan (HGIDP) is heavy on maintaining natural landscapes, yet the newly constructed bridle bridge on O’Brien Rd lies slap bang in the middle of an SES, serves no useful purpose on this relatively quiet stretch of road and sticks out like a sore thumb.
The application for resource consent calls this a bridge for horses and pedestrians. In her decision, the Independent Duty Commissioner clearly thinks she’s adjudicating on a pedestrian bridge, yet at no time has this area been seen as dangerous for pedestrians or made it onto any kind of ‘footpath’ list. Most people visiting Onetangi Sports Park do so by vehicle and walkers can access the Park through a myriad of tracks. For the odd pedestrian going this way, the existing road bridge was perfectly adequate with its wide concrete kerbing. The sensible approach would be not to cross at the same time as the occasional large truck.
Seeing this eyesore, people come away expressing disbelief that their local politicians could have spend nearly $200,000 of ratepayers’ money on a white elephant that goes from nowhere to nowhere and is entirely unnecessary, even for Walden’s own horses for whose benefit it was really constructed. What particularly irks is the knowledge that footpaths in their own neighbourhoods (such as Goodwin Ave, Seaview Rd by Waiheke Primary School and Trig Hill Rd) have been bypassed by the Board.
The Duty Commissioner’s decision not to notify the bridge application makes you wonder if the bridge has even been built according to the plan. Apparently:
‘the proposal will generate no more than minor adverse effects on natural character and landscape amenity values’ (my emphasis).
The ‘no more than minor’ decision is based on the following:
- It will improve public access to and along the Coastal Marine Area. WRONG
- Visual effects will be mitigated by the low form and scale of the proposal. WRONG
- The adjacent road and bridge will serve to screen most of the new structure from the wider environment to the west. NO
It goes on:
- In the context of the surrounding level of development, the bridge will be relatively low-lying. NO
- The bridge will integrate into the landscape due to its low impact design WRONG
- The bridge and pathway will be a low-lying structure that will sit generally in line with the natural ground level. NOT
- Persons using the adjoining road and bridge will not be subject to any adverse dominance and visual amenity effects. RUBBISH
Since the only other man-made structure near the site on O’Brien’s Road and by the entrance to Onetangi Sports Park is the bus shelter and ‘the site is relatively unmodified in terms of urban landscape’ the claim that the ‘effects on the natural character are considered to be less than minor’ and therefore doesn’t have to be publically notified just don’t stack up.
This humpback bridge is supposed to be ‘low-lying’, in line with the road and screened from the wider environment, yet it stands over a metre above the road with a metre high fence on top of that, and can be seen from Onetangi Road over 400metres away.
The application itself claims that the vegetation and existing vehicular bridge ‘will act to break up the bridge and ensure that it does not form a prominent feature of the estuarine environment.’ In reality, the visual impact is offensive and obtrusive, even without considering the environmental setting. But when the ecological significance of the site is taken into consideration it is like giving the Harvey Smith salute to the natural environment. For those of you who don’t know, Harvey Smith, was a horse rider famous for giving the two fingered salute to the judges in a show jumping competition.
And where do the hand-wringing, chest-beating local Greenies stand over this? Well it’s their mate Walden’s project so they daren’t say a thing. Walden and his supposedly ‘Green’ cohorts of the island’s rent-a-mob environmentalists say nothing, and do nothing.
Contrast their silence over this very visible affront to the island’s natural environment to the verbal and physical abuse they handed out to a family because they built a house on their own land, in a bay already compromised by building and visible only from the sea. Right now, the same mob is gearing up to harass and harangue yet another land owner attempting to build on their own property on Onetangi Beach. They are being egged on by local taipan, Liz Waters editor of Gulf News. It’s what hypocritical political mobs and their protest propaganda paparazzi do. It is the politics of envy that drives them, not concern for the environment.
This bridge, that only fools would have built for horses, should be pulled down. It is a total, complete and utter affront to ratepayers, horses and the environment.
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