Residents 'sick' of rally traffic

By Christine McKay

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With the cost of road repairs escalating and a threatened rates protest, the future of rallying in the Tararua is under the spotlight again.

Tararua District councillors considered two applications last week, one from the Dannevirke Car Club for the closure of Blairgowrie Rd on Sunday, November 17 and the second from Club Targa for Saturday, November 2.

Councillor Warren Davidson asked if any of the rally organisations had ever paid to reinstate roads throughout the district.

"Given the stress on our roading budget, clubs need to understand our roads aren't a playground and should be protected for road users."

Ray Cannon, council's manager of engineering services, confirmed the Dannevirke Car Club had been charged for grading Whariti Rd following damage.

"There's also discussion going on about charging bonds for the use of our roads," he said.

Woodville's Tom Dodd is threatening to withhold rates if the Targa Rally goes through Range Rd.

"The closure is inconvenient and unacceptable," he said in a submission to the council. "I pay the council for this roading amenity and work Monday to Friday, so the loss of access on a Saturday compromises my farming operations.

"If the rally proceeds I will consider options for recovering the roading rates I've paid.

"That should be fun - at least my lawyer says it should be."

Two Mangahei Rd residents have also objected to November's Targa Rally using their road.

However, Peter Martin of Club Targa, said the rally had been running for 19 years and had a good reputation.

"Yes, we disrupt the lives of rural residents and appreciate you, the council, are under financial pressure to maintain the roads. However Targa only uses sealed roads," he said.

Nick and Wendy Lansdown of Mangahei Rd have objected to the Targa Rally using their road again this year, with councillor Keith Fenemore, a former Mangahei Rd resident, fully supporting their stand.

"We've had this discussion about Mangahei Rd before and there was an agreement with Targa that the rally wouldn't go through there," he said.

"Residents didn't want the event on their road this time. People are sick of it."

Tararua District mayor Roly Ellis said he'd also had more than one person moaning about the rally using the road.

Mr Fenemore said the road had been used annually by the rally and one year was used twice in once day by Targa.

"A lot of people farm both sides of the road and we've had objections about the use of this road for years, but you (Targa) keep coming back every time.

"Once every three years is enough," he said.

Mr Ellis agreed.

"We'll grant the application this year, but we're signalling that in future, the Targa Rally is to use Mangahei Rd only every three years," he said.

The council also granted the Dannevirke Car Club's application for the Blairgowrie Rd event.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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