Residents of a very short — but very busy — unsealed road in the Bay of Islands are calling for a lower speed limit before a child is hit by a "hooning" car.
Lily Pond Lane, which is off Puketona Rd/State Highway 11 just west of Haruru, is only about 250m long but is heavily used in summer because it leads to a popular swimming hole in the Waitangi River.
Locals say people driving to the reserve at speed create clouds of dust, contaminating their water supplies, and put children in danger.
The narrow lane has not previously had a speed limit sign so residents were perplexed when, instead of a lower limit, an open road sign was put up — officially setting the speed limit at 100km/h.
That's more than the 80km/h maximum allowed on the state highway it runs off.
Residents spoken to by the Advocate say the limit should be 10-30km/h given the state of the road, the dust nuisance and the number of pedestrians.
Resident Tamara Rebourgeon said the lane was busy in summer with cars "hooning up and down" to the riverside reserve.
As well as putting children at risk speeding vehicles threw up clouds of dust, which settled on the roofs of surrounding homes and ended up in their water tanks.
Niki Cadenhead said "loads and loads of tamariki" used the lane, as well as campers walking from the nearby holiday park, while Sylvia Watson said the speed limit on the highway had been reduced to 80km/h because it wasn't deemed suitable for 100km/h — yet the narrow lane was officially a 100km/h zone.
"It doesn't make any sense at all," she said.
John Kennedy called for tarseal to stop the dust and speed bumps "to stop the hooligans screaming up and down".
A Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency spokesman said the open road sign was put up at Lily Pond Lane — and other side roads such as Retreat Rd and Puketutu Dr — when the speed limit on the highway was reduced in September to 80km/h.
"Before this change, there was no signage on Lily Pond Lane indicating the legal speed limit. It was the same as the speed limit for the state highway," he said.
"As a result of changing the speed limit on the highway, Waka Kotahi has put up a derestriction sign by the state highway intersection with Lily Pond Lane to show motorists they have left the 80km/h zone that applies to the highway. The speed limit on the side roads has not changed.
"A derestriction sign — a black diagonal line on a white background — indicates an open road speed limit of 100km/h and is usually found on rural roads. Drivers are advised the speed limit is not a target and they should drive safely and to the conditions."
The authority responsible for setting speed limits on local roads such as Lily Pond Lane is the Far North District Council.
The council is reviewing all local speed limits but, due to the size of the task, it is tackling one part of the district at a time.
Last year the council reviewed the limits on about 70 roads in the Ōkaihau-Kaeo-Waimate North area.
In general the speed limit was cut from 100km/h to 80km/h on sealed rural roads and 60km/h on unsealed roads, or lower on narrow roads and around schools.
The next areas up for review are Kaitaia-Awaroa and Kohukohu-Broadwood.
The bad news for Lily Pond Lane residents is that the Bay of Islands is last on the list for a speed limit review.
A council spokesman said Covid-19 had disrupted the project but the Bay was expected to have its turn in the second half of 2021.