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Watch NZH Local Focus: Ratepayer takes on council over Two Mile Creek

By Jaden McLeod

There's trouble brewing at Waihi Beach's Two Mile Creek.

Nearly all of the 35 property owners that have the lionshare of the creek have agreed to gift part of their land to the Western Bay of Plenty District Council - for a concrete channel to stop land erosion.

But Shane Fell isn't happy with how council has handled the project.

"We were offered a large amount of money for our property roughly around four or five years ago. We turned it down, for a number of reasons, one of which is that we believe everybody should be entitled to compensation for their property," says Mr Fell.

The council says environmental issues are to blame and that compensation is unlikely - despite the offer presented to Mr Fell in recent years.

"Most of the other property owners have seen sense in actually getting a solution that protects their property from further erosion. Council gets its money from ratepayers, so if we were to pay everybody out, then its actually the people technically paying for it," says council spokesman Kelvin Hill.

Mr Hill says the council has made a resource consent application on the basis that nearly all parties have agreed with the proposal.

"It was very clear early on that property owners were concerned about the cost of the scheme and what was going to come out of their pockets. I think that's why they've accepted the fact that if they can gift a bit of land to council to run a channel through there, then that makes sense."

Mr Hill refutes any claims of heavy-handedness from council.

"It's not been about bullying, it's been about moving a process forward."

But Mr Fell says he feels like the council has isolated the Fell Family Trust.

"It would be nice to be able to sit down with someone from the council and talk reasonably," he says.

Construction and maintenance at the sea entrance to the creek has already been approved, but it could be stalemate for the rest until all parties can meet a resolution.

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- NZ Herald

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