View obstructed by council 'hill'

By Roger Moroney

8 comments
MESSED UP: Merlot Drive resident Neil Barron with pieces of unearthed glass which still litter the raised landscape which has taken away views from several houses. PHOTO/WARREN BUCKLAND
MESSED UP: Merlot Drive resident Neil Barron with pieces of unearthed glass which still litter the raised landscape which has taken away views from several houses. PHOTO/WARREN BUCKLAND

A group of residents in Merlot Drive are unhappy their view of the Park Island landscape has been taken away by a 15m hill which has been created as part of a Hawke's Bay Regional Council-driven re-alignment of the Taipo Stream.

Darryl Hutt said all she saw from her property now was the distant tops of trees and light standard poles.

She said while residents had been contacted and told of the plans for the landscaping work, and that there would be some raising of the ground, she did not feel the full extent was made clear.

"We were warned the level would be raised and they told us there would be a small mound - but that's a hill," she said.

As well as taking views of Park Island away she was also concerned at the privacy level, as people would walk the planned pathways to the top of the site and be able to peer into Merlot Rd properties.

Mrs Hutt said she was so concerned about the height of the new grounds she offered to pay half the cost of having the level reduced, or the ends cut away more.

The offer had not been taken up.

A close neighbour, Neil Barron, was also unhappy with what had been created as part of the Hawke's Bay Regional Council's project to take the area back to its pre-earthquake look as well as improving possible flood capacities and amenities.

He said there had been meetings between the council development staff and residents although raising the land level was not brought up initially.

When it was raised, the heights involved did not appear extreme at first glance.

"I don't mind a small bank but that's a big hill."

Mrs Hutt said the hill section could have been placed closer to the new hockey grounds being built because it would have provided additional spectating spots as well as keeping the landscape clear for the six or seven residents affected.

Other residents in the area were unfussed about the development, several giving it the thumbs-up.

"But they haven't lost their view," Mrs Hutt said.

The residents were also concerned about the amount of rubble and pieces of glass which had been unearthed during the work and which still studded the area.

That however would be addressed as part of the next stage of the work leading up to planting of the area in June, the regional council's open space development officer Antony Rewcastle said.

Mr Rewcastle said he understood some residents' concerns and that they may not have taken in the full extent of what was taking place.

"It always ends up a little different."

He said removing some of the higher level was still under consideration but at this stage he did not believe it would be feasible.

Mr Rewcastle said there had been a lot of positive feedback from people impressed with the views of the newly created stream which had already attracted fish and bird life.

"But we realise there are some concerns."

The debris across the area would be cleared, he said.

The stream has been returned to its pre-earthquake path when it was used by Maori to gather seafood.

The area will feature pathways and seating as well as create recreational opportunities.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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