The issue is back on the Board’s agenda with its submission to the government’s Marine Protected Areas Act. The Board is proposing a series of marine reserves around Waiheke including one that stretches from the south end of Oneroa to the western arm of Palm Beach, the very area the 2500 petitioned against.
In a move to deny a voice to the organisers of the petition the Local Board has not invited any of its members to a meeting tonight to discuss the issue. Paul Walden, Chairman of the WLB, had previously promised all interested parties that they would be involved in further discussions. Alas ‘Keep Our Beaches’ has found out the hard way, just like the ‘Friends of Alison Park’, that a promise from Walden has about as much substance as a promise from the Tooth Fairy.
The WLB has been growing bolder as time has passed. It believes its grip on power is now so absolute that it can ignore any opposition. The island’s mainstream media refuse to print letters opposing any position not held by the Board thus reinforcing the impression among residents that no opposition exists and anyway they are powerless.
Let this be a salutary lesson to all those who think it is a good idea to have an independent Waiheke controlled by the same people who pull the strings of this WLB. Should ‘Our Waiheke’ get their way and create a Green Republic of Waiheke there will be a marine reserve on the northern beaches.
There will be no recreation fishing, no customary rights to take seafood, no launching of boats, in fact none of the pleasures Kiwis traditionally enjoy from our beaches. Boats would no longer flock to Oneroa Bay or Palm Beach in the summer. Local businesses would suffer. The boaties are big spenders in Oneroa.
This Waiheke Local Board is divisive, exclusive, and driven by ideology. There is no attempt to reconcile opposing viewpoints. No attempt to bring differing communities of interest together. It rewards its followers and crony groups at the expense of the wider community.
'Keep Our Beaches' must continue its struggle and be part of the resistance to a Board that that is arrogant, selfish and detrimental to Waiheke's future.