Motocross objection heading for court

Golden Bay residents are getting ready for a case in the Environment Court after the Tasman District Council dismissed their complaints about a motocross track near their homes.

Paddy Brennan and John Salmon have formed an incorporated society called Friends of Motupipi to pursue their case.

"We've had an ongoing issue with the motocross track that was put in near our home in 2005," Paddy said.
"We had an Ombudsman's report and his opinion was that motocross was not 'agricultural equipment' therefore not exempt from the noise rules."

Paddy has been subjected to threats and intimidation for her opposition to the track that is only 500m from her home. In 2010, human faeces was smeared on her gate and engine grease on her windscreen in bullying attacks she feels are directly related to the motocross issue.

Despite repeated attempts to get the council to address their concerns about noise violations, the council has done nothing to reduce the noise or control the activity at the track on Geoff Harwood's property. According to Mayor Richard Kempthorne, no resource consent was needed for the track as motocross was exempt from the rural noise zone because it was considered mobile horticultural equipment.

In August last year Ombudsman David McGee issued a report on the track advising the council to seek a legal opinion on the classification of the bikes as "horticultural equipment". He further advised the council to establish a local compliance officer and to take the issue to the Environment Court to determine the legality of the track.

Richard's response to the Ombudsman's report indicated that the council will not submit the case to the Environment Court and stated "it is our view that motocross practice activity cannot be considered excessive noise".

"It must be concluded that council does not have an effective or compelling case that it could take against the owners of the track to cause them to stop using it for motocross practice sessions," Richard said.

TDC environmental health co-ordinator Graham Caradus took noise measurements adjacent to the track on March 28. The overall noise was at or just below the acceptable level of 55db but there were regular spikes as high as 71db.

Paddy and the Friends of Motupipi are not opposed to motocross and suggest that the council looks to establish a track where no neighbours will be affected by the noise.

A meeting with the Mayor is scheduled for next Monday.