Why is our Council so backward?

Over the last three years I have searched and searched for one single elected Councillor or Council employee who has an understanding of or commitment to sustainability. I have sought to engage those who on the surface would appear to be likely candidates (no pun intended). I have sent emails. I have left handwritten notes. I have attended meetings of up to 20 community members and asked the question: “Is there a single person associated with Wanganui District Council that I can meet with about sustainability issues?”

After all of this time I’ve never had a single name come my way, unless “Useless” is someone’s name and I didn’t catch on to it at the time. “Useless” came up often, but never a Tom, Dick, or Harriet.

This would appear to be the case because from what I have observed over 36 months is that more often than not our Council works against sustainability. Just when I thought the pinnacle of idiocy had been reached, it is surpassed again and again. How can they be so backward?

The latest example comes from yesterday when I walked out to collect driftwood on our oversized beach to find my rates paying to bulldoze sand into the Tasman Sea. During my photo shoot (see below) the dozer driver came over with an angry look on his face. I greeted him with a handshake and a smile. We were having a nice conversation when the excavator driver walked over to see what we were on about. He joined in our pleasant conversation. They were just nice guys being paid to do a stupid job.

I told them I’d get out of their way, and walked home to scribble out the following Letter to the Editor:

I don’t want to Scrooge anyone’s Christmas, so I’ll keep this as jolly as possible. How comical is it that our rates are being used to plow sand into the sea? Tragically comic I’ll admit, but comic nonetheless.
I already know the responses from climate change deniers and Council rationalists. Yes, this has been done for X years at a cost of Y dollars. But I’m afraid that is no longer justification for the unsustainable combustion of carbon-based fuels and the unsustainable rates rises we’re all forced to pay. Can we please get an inkling of progressive thinking for a change?
The cost of living is forcing families to downsize. The cost of medical care has threatened to force our hospital to downsize. Changes in education funding have forced many Whanganui education providers to downsize. Why not downsize Castlecliff Beach? Let’s focus on quality rather than quantity. In the long run it would both save money and cut pollution.

Peace, Estwing

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