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Wednesday, 7 May 2008

LOST IN THE TRACK-FULL WASTE

Bravo! to Diana Worthy for the front-page lead on Waiheke tracks in last week's Marketplace.

As a member of the Waiheke Community Board I have been trying to get some sense into shemozzle that is Auckland City Council's tracks 'policy.' But with that infernal empire every piddling little thing is made more involved than the D-Day landings.

I was recently asked to sign off a new 120-metre track between O'Brien Road and Valley Road. I refused, saying that the budgeted $8000 was far too high, and asked them to get quotes, not just go to a 'preferred' supplier (they are, in law, meant to have 'sound business practices' and 'stewardship'). But they went ahead and did it anyway. It cost us $5230, which included a massive $3970 for the six steps at the top.

Even worse those platinum, gold-plated, diamond-studded steps are ugly, out of keeping with their surroundings, and have risers so high and treads so deep that they are hard to use unless you have the legs of a praying mantis and the muscles of Pop-Eye.

I tried to put on the agenda of the last board meeting a notion of motion asking for a review of tracks standards, and the development of an island standard so that our tracks would not only be safe but pleasant to use and in harmony with the environment. Too often new tracks give people a construction experience not a nature experience. But the Machine deleted my notice of motion.

It is about time Auckland's profligate waste, disregard for the island environment, and bureaucratic arrogance were stopped in their tracks. Permanently.