On a visit to Greymouth last weekend I was given a cutting from your paper
regarding the destruction of the Cobden Air Raid Shelter.
Several years ago I started documenting the remains of our
Coastal Defence sites for precisely this reason. Our coastal defence
heritage is disappearing, usually sanctioned by local or national government
under the guise of public safety or to make way for infrastructure
development. Where was the consultation? I believe that the
raid shelter may have been the only structure of this nature left in the
country and consider its destruction to be Council sponsored vandalism.
Last year I visited this historic
Cobden coastal defence site and photographed the remains for my web
site. This web site was started, not as a definitive history of our WWII
coastal defences, but a record of what is remaining, that people can visit
the site and see some remaining local military history. By doing this I was
hoping to raise awareness of the historical value of these sites. To find
that this site was destroyed has disappointed me, a piece of our military
heritage has disappeared forever. Not the first time by the Grey District
Council. The destruction of the pill boxes and road blocks on the Point
Elizabeth road several years ago is another example.
You can visit my web site to see what I have written,
www.nzrifle.com/ and see the
original plans of the site, historical facts and a
picture of the gun. Many hours research reading the Battery Log at
Archives NZ. and other documents.
The West Coast has a fine history from WWII, both Regular
Army and an exceptionally strong Home Guard. The remains of these sites
should be treated as important historical sites as a tribute to those
Coasters who manned them over a time of uncertainty. Not destroyed at the
whim of a beaurocrat who sees them as an obstacle to development. Would this
be done to a historic Pa site, I think not.
(A letter to the Editor, Greymouth Evening Star, 23 August