A group of Havelock North residents hope 2021 will see a resolution to the battle over a cell tower's installation on Te Mata Rd adjacent to 1 Durham Dr.
Spark first attempted to install the tower in September 2019, but work was halted after the group said they had not been properly consulted.
The site remains fenced off and unkept, with grass growing on it for months at a time before it is mown.
Stephen Fookes, who lives right next to the cell tower site and has become the spokesman for the group, said they just want to see the whole situation resolved at this point, regardless of whether the tower goes up.
"It is not doing anyone, Spark's reputation, residents, or the image of Te Mata Road any good by having that mess that sits out there all the time," he said.
However, Fookes said residents would remain opposed to the tower until Spark came and talked to them.
"The residents in the area want to meet with Spark and know exactly what their plans are, and when we've met with them, they've told us things that we don't believe can be verified," he said.
Spark sent 47 pages of information to the group explaining why the site was the optimal location for increasing data capacity in Havelock North.
Fookes said his group asked for the raw data behind this so independent radio frequency engineers could review it.
"We've been backwards and forwards I don't know how many times, and they still haven't provided the raw data," he said.
In July 2020, Spark corporate relations manager Samantha Smith said the data sat within an engineering modelling tool, so providing "raw data" on its own would be meaningless without the modelling.
Fookes thinks all the telecommunications provider is doing is causing frustration and delay in the hope the issue will go away.
Another Spark corporate relations partner, Elle Dorset, said this week negotiations around the site were ongoing.
"While Spark is permitted to build the cell site on the corner of Te Mata and Durham Roads under the National Environmental Standards for Telecommunication Facilities 2016, we have been working hard to try and find a solution that meets the needs of a small group of concerned residents, as well as the wider community who will be increasingly disadvantaged by a degraded service as demand for digital services continues to grow in the area," she said.
Dorset said after seven other potential sites were investigated over several months, analysis proved none would increase capacity where required.
"We presented an alternative and higher-priced design to help disguise the tower to the group of residents, however despite this offer, explaining the technicalities in detail and providing all the design thinking and logic around the site choice – they ultimately would not accept the site being built in that location, or near any other residential property," she said.
Dorset added that Spark was continuing to discuss the issue internally and working with the Hastings District Council to find a solution that would ensure it could provide great connectivity for Spark customers in Havelock North.