I was wondering if you could find out why the splash pad in Potters Park, Balmoral has been removed. It had been there for only a year or so and was very popular in summer. I think it cost a lot of money so am wondering why it's gone and if it's coming back. Was there some sort of issue with it or was it just a short-term thing?
- Carolyn Dougal, Balmoral.
Good news - the closure was just a short-term thing. Auckland Council advises that during the winter period, the Potters Park splash pad is shut.
This reflects low usage and reduces unnecessary operating costs. (See, the council really is looking at ways of reducing expenditure.)
The splash pad is operational from September 15 to May 15 each year. During this period it will be working from 9am to 9pm, seven days a week.
Thanks for the interesting article on boundary fences. I wonder if you can give an outline on the issues arising from a neighbour's trees overhanging the boundary of your property. What remedies are legally available if unwanted growth needs cutting back, etc?
- Russell Lowe, Te Puke.
Where trees on a property cause a nuisance and interfere with a neighbour's right to enjoy their land, legal remedies may be available to compensate for or rectify the problem.
Compensation can be sought in the Disputes Tribunal for damage caused by trees, such as roots blocking a drain, up to a claim of $15,000 (or $20,000 if both parties agree).
The law also allows a "self-help" remedy, such as cutting off encroaching roots or overhanging branches.
The Property Law Act 2007 (sections 333 to 338) gives a district court judge the power to order an occupier to remove or trim trees where they unduly obstruct a view or are an actual or potential risk to life, health or property.
Local authorities have extensive powers under section 133 of the Public Works Act 1981 and section 355 of the Local Government Act 1974 where trees encroach on public land obscuring visibility or interfering with public works.
And, while this probably won't help you, Mr Lowe, Auckland Council is considering a draft property maintenance and nuisance bylaw for cases of failure to maintain property causing nuisance or risk to public health, such as overgrown sections and other issues.
Enforcement, compliance and timeframes are likely to be put out for public submissions.
I often use the satnav function on my cellphone to help me navigate around the city, but I got to wondering - is this legal?
- Janice Marriott, Mt Eden.
Mark Stockdale of the Automobile Association says that while it is illegal to use a handheld cellphone, the law says it is okay to use a phone while driving provided the phone is secured in a mounting fixed to the car, and the driver only operates it briefly and infrequently.
That means it is okay to use smartphones for GPS or music functions, or hands-free phones.
Provided you set up the GPS function before you drive off, and have a bracket to mount it to the dashboard, you would not be breaching the rule.
• Do you have a question for Phoebe? It can be about transport or any Auckland issue. Email firstname.lastname@example.org