Is the answer blowing in the wind?
Enforcement of Waipa District Council's public places bylaw 2018, and the rules it outlines about footpath signage, has left some Kihikihi business owners disappointed.
In November last year the new bylaw was adopted following a public online consultation. The bylaw has been put in place to ensure footpaths and town centers are accessible, safe and attractive.
The rule in the bylaw that has caused upset in Kihikihi states that footpath signs can be no more than 1m high, 1m wide and 0.7m deep in size - which cancels up to 24 flags flown by 15 Kihikihi businesses.
"You're not going to get a flag under a metre and we pay hundreds for these flags and if we can't fly them then the businesses are going to suffer," said owner of the Kihikihi Book Exchange Angela Ramsay.
However, Waipa District Council transportation manager Bryan Hudson said flags were never allowed and the footpath sign size dimensions had been increased from the previous bylaws dimensions of 0.9m high, 0.9m wide and 0.7m in depth.
"Flags were never allowed. These things (bylaws) don't get a heap of education or exposure and enforcement is only done when we think things are getting out of hand," Hudson said.
Not everyone is unhappy about the bylaws and Les Murrell, owner of Town and Country Motors, says the rules should be followed to ensure the upkeep of the town.
"The bylaws were put into place with the 100-year village plan for Kihikihi, Ohaupo and Pirongia's main streets, with the vision to attract people to stop, park and walk around and sit at our shops," Murrell said.
"The council has done a fantastic job developing Kihikihi's main street and I think we should follow these rules that work with the vision to keep everything consistent."
Ramsay and owner of Platform Elevating Artisans gift shop, Abbie McCall, say they also were not told of any public consultation on the bylaw.
Hudson said that the consultation took place last year through online submissions and was advertised in local newspapers and online.
Eighty-six people made formal submissions to have their say on the bylaw. From those submissions, 10 people were against the new signage size rules and 44 were in favour. The other submissions were about other rules in the bylaw.
"People do value the way a town looks and that is reflected in the submissions," said Hudson.
The business owners believe consideration such as limiting the number of flags opposed to the size of signs needs to be discussed.
"We're trying to build businesses here which then help to build the community so a conversation needs to be had," McCall said.
"Being on a state highway, the flags not only indicate to locals that we are here but also to visitors."
Waipa business owners have been given until January 31 next year to bring sign sizes into line.
The other rules in the bylaw cover space allowance on footpaths, where signs are not allowed, veranda signs, the use of outdoor dining furniture and displaying goods on footpaths.