who is a British army veteran, on a pet memorial
from Dr Kerry Bolton
Councillor Gavin Welsh, after waiting discreetly for mourners to depart, was quick to vandalise a memorial for the dog Beau, executed by council on 16 December 2014.
Fourteen people, plus two dogs and a cockatoo, gathered outside KCDC premises on 16 December 2015, at 7.30 pm, to remember Beau and the way he had been railroaded through the courts and executed.
The event was attended by Cr Dr David Scott and Cr Jackie Elliott. Several pictures of Beau were temporarily affixed to a pillar outside the Council premises and topped by a perfectly formed red rose. Some candles were lit in remembrance. Crs. David Scott and Jackie Elliott said a few words, as did Mr Dale Evans.
The little event was concluded by about 8.00.
Immediately the small group had departed Cr. Welsh was prompt to tear down the pictures and the rose and throw them into a rubbish bin. In an e-mail to me dated 21 December, Cr. Welsh admits the action, and defends this by citing clauses of the Public Places Bylaw. His account differs somewhat from that of several witnesses.
He claims that he happened to be passing in his car, and that he took this vandalism upon himself because a security employee tasked with taking the items down was not available. Other versions state that Cr. Welsh had been waiting in his car in the parking lot near Farmers, and was quick to vandalise the memorial and there had been security personnel present at all times. The elderly woman who had especially selected the rose from her garden for the occasion was very upset when told what Cr. Welsh had done, as were the several children present.
Cr. Welsh, apart from attempting to justify his actions with clauses from the Public Places Bylaw, also refers in his 21 December e-mail to my questioning of the integrity of himself and many of his council colleagues, including my having filed a complaint against him under the KCDC’s Code of Conduct.
I did not have a significance role in the memorial for Beau other than to be in attendance with my wife. It might therefore be wondered whether Cr. Welsh’s vandalism, which he claims to have been impromptu, was motivated by personal, petty malice against me? One might further ask, given Cr. Welsh’s sudden enthusiasm for taking it upon himself to enforce the Public Places Bylaw, whether he will set about vandalising the many memorials, mainly crosses, often regularly adorned with flowers, attached along roadsides, in memory of road accident victims?
These, along with the frequent display of garage sale signs and notices of missing pets presumably contravene the Public Places Bylaw. Will Cr. Welsh’s commitment to the Public Places Bylaw be extended to these possible contraventions, or will he continue to confine himself to rather haphazardly and very untidily tearing down the posters I am placing about critical of KCDC ?
Cr. Welsh remains mute as to whether he was the culprit who pathetically placed torn posters up my driveway on three consecutive occasions during late November. Perhaps Cr. Welsh has not been informed by Chief Dougherty that I had agreed to suspend postering in an effort by Deputy Mayor Cardiff to arrange a conciliatory meeting between myself and Dougherty.
Dougherty rebuffed any such prospect. Several weeks previously, after an abortive effort by Dougherty to intimidate my wife and I by trying to use the police and the threat of the Harassment Act, efforts by Snr Sgt Anita Dixon to arrange a conciliatory meeting between Dougherty and myself had also been rebuffed by Dougherty.
That is indicative of the yobbish element that is running Kapiti. While Cr. Welsh’s antics might narrowly be justified within a bylaw, and there are major questions in relation to common law rights, the morality and decency of his vandalism is another matter.
K. R. Bolton, 11 Beachwater Gr. Paraparaumu Beach
Cr Welsh’s e-mail of 21 December to Dr Bolton is below.
Good afternoon Mr. Bolton,
As discussed in my earlier reply, here is my response in full. I feel it important to set the scene before addressing the specifics of the points you raised.
When I was first elected onto Council, the issues around the dog Beau either had been, or continued to be, before the Court. I played no part in the decision-making as the matter was out of my hands. During the time that your partner, your associates, and you came to air your opinions during public speaking, I did not challenge you, I did not antagonise you, and I did not object to your concerns.
Now I cannot comment whether it be selective memory, or whether you simply do not remember your actions in the heat of the moment, but let me assure you, I remember the incident vividly to this day. Your behaviour in the chamber towards Cr. Holborow in my opinion was unacceptable. As a consequence, I wrote down my memories of the incident that evening, should they be required in due course. As we are both aware, they subsequently were required, along with the recollections of a number of my colleagues.
So I’ll reiterate that from my perspective up until this point, you and I effectively had no major axes to grind. From there, you shouted across a crowded cafe stating “There you are, you narcissistic scum!”
You have subsequently included me in numerous comments in the media. You lodged a code of conduct complaint against me. You have posted offensive material around the district naming me personally, and others where I am included amongst my colleagues. And you have specifically targeted the vicinity of my own home and local community with similarly offensive and actionable material.
I should be angry about the comments that you have made, and continue to make about me. Especially as I too have had to explain to my young family why someone would say such things about their Father. But I don’t get angry, I just get on with my work and remove the posters when I see them.
But needless to say, so far your course of action does little to nurture respect. Regarding the specific point that you raised around the posters on the Council building, I draw your attention to the sections contained within the Public Places Bylaw:
9 Hoardings, Posters and Notices 9.1 A person must obtain written approval from the Council before he or she erects any hoarding in a public place, unless the hoarding is being erected in a permitted area already approved by the Council for hoardings 4.
9.2 The approval of a hoarding and new hoarding sites may be subject to conditions, including: 1. placement 2. fees 3. dates a display board may be erected 4. the display board design and compliance with any District Plan requirements 9.3 Hoardings erected outside permitted areas without approval from the Council must be removed within 1 hour of being instructed to do so, or as otherwise specified by the Council.
9.4 No person may erect any poster or notice containing material which a reasonable person would deem offensive.
9.5 Posters or notices displayed on hoardings and advertising any temporary event shall be removed within 24 hours of the end of the temporary event, or such other time as approved by the Council.
9.6 With the exception of approved hoardings under this clause, no one shall affix or place a poster or notice to any Council ornament, statue, sculpture, structure, building, post, tree or facilities in a public place without the Council’s prior approval. In essence, the items placed had no right to be there and consequently they were removed. An employee from a local security company had been tasked to take them down following the gathering, but it seemed he was otherwise engaged when I drove past.
I am aware that Mr. Evans was present when I removed the posters, I have no control over his recollection of events. However I can inform you that there was no deliberate or ceremonial ‘crushing’ of the rose, it was simply wrapped up with the other posters and deposited in a nearby litter bin.
Mr. Bolton, the perpetuation of your anger towards me and my colleagues is in your hands. But while you continue to put up the posters, I will continue to take them down. However, with so much still to do in the world, I’m sure that we could both find more constructive uses of our time. If you wish to discuss the matter in person, I am more than willing to do so.
As it is the season of good will, I wish you and your partner a Merry Christmas, and hope that the New Year brings a somewhat less contentious air with it.
Regards, Gavin Welsh