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Another Project Stalled 

Those who have watched the totally ill-conceived Leach Legacy project relating to the planting of trees around the Peninsula to commemorate WW1 battles will not be surprised to hear that the Thames project to commemorate Messines has fallen by the wayside through "budget constraints!" - see response below to an enquiry made by Althea Barker through Customer Service.

"Thank you for your query in relation to the planting of the World War One Memorial Forest in Thames to commemorate the Battle of Messines.

I am sorry to inform you that due to budget constraints it is not planned to proceed with this forest at the present point in time.  I can advise however that a forest has been planted at Whitianga that commemorates the Battle of Passchendaele (also known as the Third Battle Of Ypres) of which the Battle of Messines was a prelude to.

I would like to thank you for your interest in the World War One Memorial Forest project. I have cc'd Bruce Hinson the Thames Area Manager and Derek Thompson  the Parks Manager into this email as going forward it may be beneficial to Council in order to gauge the amount of interest in creating a forest for the Battle of Messines.  I am certain that Thames Community Board members would also be approachable in this matter and it goes without saying that you are welcome to contact me should you wish to."

Of course there are many who supported Leach in this endeavour who will be disappointed at this turn of events, but anyone who has followed my blog will not be surprised to hear that I am not one. I think that it is a huge waste of rate-payer funds that could be well spent on other essential services. And don't accuse me of disrespecting the fallen - my great uncle was killed on at Anzac cove on 25 April 2015, and father served on the Somme.

It is simply that I believe it is time to move on from WW1 memorials of whatever stamp, but nevertheless, this 'postponement' is particularly egregious when considering the actual origin of by far the majority of those from the Peninsula who served. But Whitianga (Ypres), and the Purangi Peninsula (Gallipoli) have proceeded - need I say more.

I know that others will be very upset at this change of heart, but frankly, it should never have been approved and funded in the first place - just another 'carryover' from a failed Mayoralty. Never mind the money already spent, and ballyhoo that accompanied its establishment. I just hope that all the others are equally affected by the "budget constraints."


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Reader Comments (1)

The whole project is I feel ruined by this decision to can Thames' Mesinnes Forest. Whether people agreed with it or not, it has progressed along way. To not complete this forest planting is very disappointing. This was a major battle, now not included in the WW100 forest project. This month one hundred years ago, Thames lost at least eighteen young men in the war, probably more that we have not yet researched.

June 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAlthea

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