Stoush erupting over beach access

By Alexandra Newlove

Grant Tucker says fellow residents are welcome to use his driveway to launch their boats - except his immediate neighbours with whom he has a long-standing feud. Photo / John Stone
Grant Tucker says fellow residents are welcome to use his driveway to launch their boats - except his immediate neighbours with whom he has a long-standing feud. Photo / John Stone

A neighbours-at-war stoush unfolding at Whangarei Heads has those involved threatening to take matters into their own hands.

A private driveway, belonging to Grant Tucker, overhangs his property boundary by about two metres, extending partially onto a Whangarei District Council-owned beach accessway which is still wide enough for public access on foot.

Immediate neighbours Mac and Judy Redmond have a long-running feud with Mr Tucker and are lobbying Whangarei District Council over what they say is his "theft of public land".

Mr Tucker has in the past hung a gate across the driveway, but said he has not done so since he was ordered to remove it by the Council, something disputed by his immediate neighbours.

The Advocate visited Mr Tucker who said he landscaped and built the driveway in 1996 following advice from a council official. The area he built on was formerly an open drain which could not be traversed to get to the beach.

Mr Tucker reasoned that, if it had not been for him, there would be no beach access at all.

WDC parks manager Paul McDonald said council was bound by the Reserves Act to ensure the area was unobstructed and had advised Mr Tucker he needed to remove his gate and allow right-of-way down his drive. Mr McDonald said he had been unable to find evidence of any historical agreement allowing Mr Tucker to build on the reserve land, nor could Mr Tucker provide it.

When asked whether other McDonald Rd residents were welcome to use his driveway, Mr Tucker said, "Yes, but not them," gesturing to his immediate neighbours.

Yesterday, a boat trailer was parked at the narrow point of the driveway entirely on the reserve making it impossible for others to use.

In a series of letters to WDC, including the Mayor, a man alleged Mr Tucker was breaching multiple pieces of legislation by obstructing public land.

Mr McDonald said he would be taking the matter to full council if it was not resolved soon.

- Northern Advocate

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