Dangerous problem

of council's making

PROBLEMS: Onekawa Park, on a former tip. In politics, one is seldom given the opportunity to see the "power behind the throne", albeit at a local level.

There was never any doubt in my mind or in my experience that the ceo of the Napier City Council, Neil Taylor, was, and is, just that.

I don't believe that the reason for "no explanation" to ascertain the properties suspected of heavy metal contamination was the refusal of five property owners. It doesn't take high intelligence to realise that promises made by the ceo are just empty words.

At the time of residential building proposed to take place in the now "Questionable Zone" area of Onekawa, the council of the day was warned that the land had been a dump site (and remember there was little, if any, recycling undertaken in those days). I can remember old batteries, paint tins and what today would be called hazardous goods, openly dumped.

They were also warned that it would be difficult to compound the area to a degree that would eradicate land movement or sinkage.

Surely this was the problem with the Onekawa Olympic Pools' continual cracking and yet further building was allowed - the kindergarten.

Toxic substances that are over the allowable level should have been dealt with with urgency by the council. When the tests found the "earth cap" over Onekawa Park was almost non-existent it should have been classed as a "Red Zone" until rectified, if possible, immediately.

Heads should roll at the Napier City Council, the Hawke's Bay Regional Council and the Hawke's Bay District Health Board at the negligence of the so-called knowledgeable persons who have seriously failed to give consideration to the ratepayers who employ them.

All contaminated properties should, in my opinion, be given rates-free amnesty until this dangerous problem of the council's making is rectified. No doubt Mr Taylor will have a plausible excuse for his, and the council's, negligence, but it is not good enough.

This problem affects people's lives and possibly their health, now and in the future. (Abridged)

Denyse Watkins

Havelock North

Freedom camping

In regard to the article about freedom camping on the Mahia Peninsula printed in Hawke's Bay Today on December 26:

I can understand the concerns of some residents of Mahia over the new freedom camping regulations. Most others will know that the Wairoa District Council will put in bylaws similar to those of other regions, that have regulations, such as two-night-stay restrictions, self-containment of waste with compliance certification, and designated places where camping for two nights is permitted for complying campers. In some regions a moderate charge is made to cover some costs.

Re Bill Shortt's claims the new bylaws would open the doors to swaggers.

This description (polluting the peninsula) is ridiculous scaremongering, as the new bylaws would not change the present situation in respect to polluting and non-self-containment camping.

As the owner of a registered self-containment campervan, I take exception to Mr Shortt's erroneous claims about freedom campers urinating. We are unlikely to be caught short at one of the designated freedom camping beauty spots - more likely day visitors, some of whom could be Mahia residents.

I hope the Wairoa council shows some vision and generosity in designating several ideal camping stopovers, enabling local, national and overseas visitors to enjoy to the maximum the beautiful environs of the region. Done well this would have a positive outcome for NZ and the Wairoa region.

Brian Devine


- Hawkes Bay Today

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