Hamiltonians driving through the Beerescourt / Te Rapa / Victoria Street intersection can't help but notice what appears to be a handmade DIY billboard slamming Waikato Regional councillors.
There are always two sides to every story and local environmental consultant Geoff Young of BPO Limited was asked for his opinion. Young has 22 years experience in environmental management working both domestically and internationally.
Here's what he had to say:
"I’m saddened and wonder whether its erector realises the impossibility of being green when we live in the red?
"I’m sure most regional councillors and staff are very aware of the necessity for balance: protecting the environment whilst being fiscally responsible. Most people will understand that as soon as the money runs out societies start to break down and the environment will always be the biggest loser.
"A balance of social, economic and environmental sustainability is therefore critical.
"Having spent the last 22 years of my life specialising in environmental management (none working for regional council) I have to wonder on what basis the person who erected this billboard made these statements.
"I certainly don’t agree with all the decisions Waikato Regional Council makes. I’ve seen some humdingers; the most obvious ones being the New Zealand Mushrooms fiasco a few years ago and the decision to use Regional rates for a velodrome, something I personally believe is way outside the jurisdiction of a regional authority.
"Urban runoff has remained relatively unchanged since the introduction of the Resource Management Act 22 years ago. There are some technologies being introduced but these are the exceptions not the rule and their implementation are far from widespread.
"It’s all well and good to throw stones at farming and the local industries which have all had to dramatically up their game; however, in my opinion town dwellers are equally as guilty.
"Little progress has actually been made when it comes to town and city runoff.
"Take a look at the Waikato River from Wairere Bridge just after a major rain event and you’ll see litter and debris floating on the surface. Meanwhile, below the surface (and ‘comfortably’ out of sight to not upset anyone) there will be a multitude of pollutants washed into the river with the litter and debris.
"Again, balance needs to be applied.
"Pressure has been on territorial authorities to improve environmental performance for the last 22 years but it’s a big ask and if the councils try and do it all at once, town and city rates will go through the roof, they’ll become too expensive to live in, everyone will move out and the towns and cities will go broke.
"This means we’ll be living further in the red with no funds to invest in being green. Net result: no gain.
"So when you drive past the billboard at Beerescourt, take a moment to think about what’s behind these statements then feel some pity for the ignorance of the person who put it up."
You can contact Geoff Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit BPO Ltd's website.