Canvey Island 2009 – A Town Oppressed By Political Arrogance

TWO-THOUSAND-AND-NINE has been a frustrating year for those Canvey Island residents emerging from their political slumber. They have woken to find their locally elected politicians attempt to thwart their community’s ambitions at every conceivable turn. They have woken to find that their politicians do not represent their views.

And they have woken to find that their local MP, so adept at manipulating the local press, is an outstanding member of that 35% of national MP’s whom have been revealed by the media to be nothing more than cheap crooks, fiddling their taxpayer funded expenses to sustain a lavish lifestyle while their constituents are forced to batten down the hatches, and forgo their small luxuries, this Christmas.

Democracy has been absent from this island in 2009.

The year began in the spirit that it continued. In April the Annual Town Meeting was attended by just 28 members of the public – down from 120 the previous year. And the residents that failed to put in an appearance did not miss anything.

At April’s meeting, Cllr. Nick Harvey outlined the Council’s achievements in its second year, which were stated as:-

  • The continuation of the tree planting scheme at Tewkes Creek and Canvey Lake
  • The erection of 10 new lamp posts and 4 new high street planters in the Town Centre.
  • And confirmation that new hanging baskets would be erected onto the lamp posts by the end of May.

The total cost of these ‘benefits’ to island residents? £ 79,587. (Although that was not mentioned at the meeting).

It was for this that islanders mounted a three-thousand strong petition for its own Town Council in 2007; for this that Parliament devoted its precious time to examine and grant islanders their wish. And it is this for which each island Council Tax payer is charged £13.98 a year.

Meanwhile, together with their close colleague, Dr Robert Spink, MP, town councillors opposed Castle Point Borough Council whenever they could find an opportunity to do so. They opposed the Council’s Core Strategy which will provide a regenerated Canvey Town Centre and alleviate its desperate housing problem. They opposed a Canvey to Kent tunnel and a third means of access to the island – despite the fact that a straw-poll shows that such a scheme would reduce the rush hour congestion on Canvey Way by up to a third. And, given public questions on the Echo’s web site regarding the lack of salt-bins during the recent snow, they were quick to lay the blame upon Borough Councillors and Essex County Council.

Bob is not the only local politician keen to jump on a passing bandwagon to evade the spotlight.

One would have thought that the local town council would have been first to investigate the salt-bin problem; but, instead of allocating part of next year’s funds to invest in practical street furniture and a supply of cheap rock-salt for its residents, Canvey Island’s Idiot Party is content to make political capital from a health and safety issue which residents rightly expect it to address.

It seems that the only street furniture that the town council is interested in is that which can support hanging baskets, brass plaques, and provide a home for commercial flora.

What is it about trees, plants, and hanging baskets with this council? Do they all have shares in a local garden centre?..

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