Another Project Stalled 
Thursday, June 1, 2017 at 11:00AM
Bill Barclay

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."


Update on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at 1:09PM by Registered CommenterBill Barclay

Today is the Anniversary of the Battle of Messines - but who would know?

It appears that the occasion has completely missed the attention of our Council which took all that trouble to establish our WW1 Plantation to commemorate this battle, but that is is of course going nowhere.

Where on earth do they dream up these amazing ways to spend our money, and then just as quickly forget about it.

I trust that the current administration can put all this behind them and get on with making the important decisions that we pay them to make - such as how to deal with sea-level rise.

I am staggered that anyone would take issue wiith me over describing Leach's mayoralty as "failed, as a couple did. I would have thought that it was self-evident when considered in the light of all the expensive failed projects left over from his reign at the 'Castle.' And all his claims of having "reformed the finances" was nothing more than 'smoke & mirrors.' Thank the daylights that his creature - the Economic Development Committee went to the dustbin - not before time!




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