Woman defends complaint about public tribute

By Corey Charlton -
The story provoked a strong reaction on Facebook yesterday. Photo / HBT
The story provoked a strong reaction on Facebook yesterday. Photo / HBT

A woman who complained about the public tributes left for a boy killed when hit by a vehicle two years ago says they should be removed because she does not like having to see them every day.

Joshua Bennie was 12-years-old when he was killed while biking to Taradale Intermediate after his mountain bike crossed in front of a van outside Reignier Catholic School, on Guppy Rd, in 2011.

Yesterday, Hawke's Bay Today reported that Napier City Council was considering removing roadside tributes to him after receiving a complaint from a nearby resident.

The resident who complained has said she sympathises with Joshua's family and if it were her she would do the same, but only on special occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries.

The resident, who wanted to be identified only as Eva, said she had a child around the same age as Joshua was when he died and had complained because she did not like having to see it every day.

A plaque created by Joshua's grandfather and erected on Reignier Catholic School wall had previously been suggested as an alternative outcome, but this is unlikely to happen.

Joshua's mother, Tracey Gibb, felt the decorations served as a safety reminder to children as well as a place Joshua's young peers could acknowledge him.

Reignier principal Julia Johnson said yesterday she and Ms Gibb had previously discussed erecting the plaque on the school wall.

Although she was receptive to the idea, they decided the school wall was too low and it would be ineffective.

"We had a conversation about it. Unfortunately we both came to the decision that the actual fence itself - we've got a very low brick wall - and there wouldn't be anywhere on it appropriate to put it. As much as we were open to it, it probably wasn't the best place to put it."

The story provoked a strong reaction on Facebook yesterday.

Emma Hargreaves wrote: "So sad that the flowers are to be removed, I feel sorry for the person who complained as they obviously have no heart."

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