Dredging submission blocked, at what cost?
Re: Road closure at The Esplanade, May 29, story
It is not surprising to learn that the Esplanade will be closed this week to coincide with the log port’s 10-day shutdown.
The work on the Esplanade/Gladstone Road Bridge corner is for the sole benefit of the community trust-owned port. It will be paid for from our region’s roading budget. The trust and port get another free ride.
In related news, council staff have this week successfully blocked me in the Environment Court from making a late submission about the proposed deepening of the harbour (at the small-boat harbour end) to double its ability to load logs, two ships at a time, and to dump dredging spoil in the bay.
It means many more HPMV loads using the Esplanade crossing and a continued blow-out for road repairs district-wide, to carry weights never contemplated by road builders 10 years ago. It goes without saying that sending logs by rail to Napier is opposed at the political level by the port and the community trust.
Council staff engaged senior counsel in Tauranga and a hearing commissioner in Napier to silence me. How many thousands of dollars did this cost? Who approved the expenditure?
Councillors were recently pleading for our input on the Long-Term Plan. The port and harbour dredging and the jobs and traffic required to support them must be the biggest single component of our regional plan; where is that huge impact being taken into account by councillors?
Common sense dictates it would have been better use of ratepayer dollars (roading is the biggest annual cost) to have appointed a panel of councillors (several are qualified hearing commissioners) to hear submissions like mine.
Do councillors even know the extent to which staff and consultants are manipulating major policy decisions? Next stop the High Court, or common sense?