I have tried to avoid this and get on with more important daily tasks, but I just can’t get over the ridiculous, faux-happy, posed photo of Holmes Cronies at the tacky, Auckland-Transport-signature entrance to our once scenic roadway in the last Gulf News. The photo only proves that the Esplanade has always been accessible to wheelchairs, and that these people are pathetic propagandists. They have provided the most telling evidence against their case for disabled people being locked out of the car-free Esplanade because the only work that was done on the road was to shore up cliff side erosion and install the Cattle Chutes. Nothing about the road bed has changed. So if the motorized wheelchair is happily motoring along now, then it was always able to motor along happily, as I have stated in numerous letters. The Esplanade has always been accessible to people with wheelchairs. This sort of idiocy is excruciating.
The one thing you can honestly say about Deputy Holmes is that she has got a lot of nerve. If only repeating a lie could make it come true. Her pathetic attempts at propaganda assume that the public is too stupid to know that everything she claims is merely a sales pitch. Supposedly her opponents (read: general public) are making spurious false claims (which she never specifies) regarding the Esplanade, but in fact her own assertions are groundless. She claims that the closure was disastrous for the road. No, her leadership as transport spokesperson was the disaster. Under her leadership the Esplanade was cut off from maintenance funding, of which only a minimal amount would have been required to keep it up to its prior standard. Having intentionally neglected the road she has the nerve to claim that it was the closure itself that damaged it. She did nothing but incite divisiveness in the community in order to serve her purpose, which was to serve her cronies at the expense of the community.
Ongoing damage to the road is caused, quite obviously, by slips on the cliff side and erosion from waves on the waterside. Historians and other experts have weighed in on the ongoing problems with maintaining the Esplanade, which Holmes conveniently ignores, instead banging away at her disinformation campaign a la Fox News. If Rupert Murdoch and Maggie Thatcher had a baby girl, it would be Jo Holmes. Pose a photograph and create some text and Presto! You have made an illusion look real.
The Cattle Chutes confine the users into narrow gauntlets which require high levels of patience from car drivers. Already the silly foldout blocks have been ripped off the posts, as cars shove them rather than get out to adjust them. The courtesy and manners required by the Cattle Chutes belongs to a bygone age which has no place in today’s driving culture- as is evident from the short lifespan of those swing-out bollards. Rather than creating a safe space they have narrowed the roadway at the same time they increased the number of road users.
This has been a stupendous waste of money. Remarkably little has been accomplished with a remarkably large amount of funding. The road is not better off, it has merely had some lipstick applied. Because AT scaled down the project to a cost which didn’t upset the horses, the slips have been dressed up with a bit of rock at the base. You can still see quite clearly where the fault lines are- it is only a matter of time before the next sections calve off. The bench seat that was supposedly vandalized was actually moved by the work team because they placed the seat on top of a section about to fall off- wouldn’t that make a funny news story? “Couple sitting on bench as it collapses onto the beach below.” The seawall has been bandaged up….again….always just barely what is needed, and never enough to make a long term difference.
In this age of easy access to accurate information, it is galling to see propaganda techniques which show grave disrespect for authentic community discourse. Just because it is common should not make it acceptable. The consequences for the island will be far reaching, because this overpriced cosmetic touch-up is brought to us via offshore loans. Just because you didn’t feel the pinch in your latest rates bill, doesn’t mean it comes free or cheap. The deep flaw in this system is the people in power voting for projects they can’t pay for out of existing funds, but nevertheless feel entitled to. Our children are consigned to be paying interest on it- that is what we pledged for this stupid vanity project. Mismanagement of Local Board Funds Costs Us Our Future.