Last week's rain did nothing to placate Henderson Bay Rd residents, who the week before blocked access to a Far North District Council contractor to prevent the further laying of red clay as a dust suppressant.
In fact, Douglas Mansill said, the rain vindicated the residents' opposition.
In a letter to the council, Mansill said that while the contractors may have compacted the surface in the middle of the road, they had not done so on the edges of the new, which was soft and eroding, Already vehicles were leaving deep indentations.
"Our fears about the red clay running down the drains and into watercourses have been realised," he said.
"Ultimately all these drains flow into streams that run into Henderson Bay, with the potential of polluting the beach.
"The contractors made some attempt to repair our driveway by laying scoria in the area affected by raising the elevation of the road. The gravel was not compacted, and already it is showing signs of wear and eroding. The road surface at either end of the red clay strip is already becoming rutted and showing signs of wear."
The Mansills had owned their Henderson Bay Rd property since 1980, and had never had the access-egress issues that had occurred since the laying of the new surface, which had considerably elevated and altered the shape of the road. Those issues were a consequence of work undertaken on behalf of the council over the previous week, and had significantly compromised that strip of road.
"We ask, who is responsible and what are they going to do about it," Mansill added.
"Yesterday's rain was heavy, but not in any way unusual for the area. Further weather events of this type can be expected in the future, and the evidence that we have provided supports this assertion.
"We do not believe that makeshift solutions will resolve this issue. We want the red clay surface to be removed immediately and the road returned to its former state. The current work was undertaken against the express wishes of local residents, and we do not think that this request is unreasonable."
A spokesman for the North Road Transport Alliance said the material complied with the required standards. Removing it would be costly, leaving less to spend elsewhere, and detrimental to the road. It would not be removed, although it may be used as a "test" to establish the material's benefits or disadvantages.
Test drive on Gills Rd
Residents on Gills Rd, between Awanui and Kaitaia, told the Northland Age that it should look at the road, which had been overlaid with red clay, after rain. So, on Thursday, it did.
The surface was slushy for the first kilometre or so from the Awanui end, but otherwise was in good shape. Some potholes were beginning to form, but there were no signs of corrugating.
Travelling at no more than 50km/h, however, the car was quickly covered in clay, from the wheel trims to the windows. The first call upon returning to Kaitaia was to a carwash.