The Far North District Council has suspended the application of new "gravel" to Henderson Bay Rd, north of Houhora, after a meeting between elected members and residents on Sunday.
Residents took great offence when a contractor began laying what the council's general manager infrastructure and asset management Andy Finch described as locally-quarried, red-coloured gravel, and which the residents refer to as red clay, last week.
Finch said yesterday that given residents' concerns, the council would suspend work on the road until spring, at which time it would be resumed, subject to other programmed work commitments.
In the meantime the council would monitor roads where the gravel had been or was being applied, and would share the results of that with the residents. It was confident that they would see significant improvements where the gravel was being laid, and suspending work would give them an opportunity to see those improvements for themselves.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
In the meantime routine maintenance would continue on Henderson Bay Rd.
Sunday's meeting, attended by Cr Mate Radich, Te Hiku Community Board member Darren Axe, council roading operations representative Gareth Oien and 15 residents, featured what resident Lynn Kincla described as robust discussion. Residents were told that the overlay would continue on Monday next week, she said, and in return they undertook to continue disrupting the movement of trucks delivering the material.
"The council said that would cost a lot of money, and that they didn't want any further disruption," Kincla said, "and it was decided to call another meeting, inviting John Carter, CEO Shaun Clarke and Andy Finch."
Shortly after the meeting closed, however, Carter contacted the residents and suggested delaying any further laying of the aggregate. The council would monitor Gills and Sandhills roads, west of Awanui, where it had already been used, to see how it responded to weather and traffic. The council was also in the process of having the aggregate independently tested to ensure that it met specifications, Carter assuring residents that they would be informed of the results of monitoring, and would be consulted about any future decision regarding the road.
New traffic counts would be conducted over the peak summer period to gauge the effect of tourism.
Page 13 - 'Red clay no way at Henderson Bay.'