Editorial: Decision raises static in suburbia

By Scott Inglis


I've been lucky that over the years I have never had any problems with my neighbours.

I've never had any run-ins, nor have any built something on their property that I considered to be an eyesore and inappropriate for the neighbourhood.

Unfortunately, dozens of people in Tauranga's popular Veda Glen subdivision can't say the same.

About 50 are in an uproar over a neighbour's plans to build a 20m radio aerial overlooking them.

Pyes Pa radio ham Brian Heywood, who has a kiwifruit orchard beside one of Veda Glen's boundaries, plans to build the radio mast in his backyard.

It will have a circumference of 230mm at 9m and tapering to 115mm at 20m, and be topped by a flat rack of antennae measuring 13m long by nearly 15m wide.

The Tauranga City Council, in its proposed new City Plan, restricts new aerials to 9m. Older aerials have been allowed up to 16m.

But the Tauranga Emergency Communications Group and the New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters appealed to the Environment Court.

The judge made an interim ruling that aerials up to 20m could be built across the city without needing neighbour consent.

Veda Glen residents found out too late about this appeal, and Mr Heywood's plans, and are angry.

One, Anne Porter, will look at it from her living room and says Mr Heywood has "total disregard" for the people around him.

Mr Heywood, who stresses the importance of amateur radio operators to search and rescue, says he can see his neighbours' points of view but believes they will eventually accept it as a normal part of the neighbourhood environment.

I'm not so sure. These residents have already held a protest meeting.

As of last night, 10 people had commented on this issue on the Bay of Plenty Times website.

This court ruling raises concerns for people who own property in suburbia. It means anyone can build one of these things. It disregards the views of the council and ignores the rights of people.

It is, in my view, a decision that is not in the best interests of the majority of people.

People who live in residential areas should not have to live with such intrusive structures. Veda Glen is not an industrial or commercial area, it's where ordinary people are trying to live the Kiwi dream like the rest of us.

I agree with Anne Porter. Mr Heywood has shown disregard for his neighbours in this matter. He has a moral obligation to reconsider.

If I was one of these residents, I would be horrified at having such an eyesore near my home.

The residents and council should not let this matter rest. They should consider what legal options, such as an appeal, they have to fight the matter.

Common sense must prevail.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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