Couple 'fed up' as decades-long battle to bust the dust drags on
A Taranaki couple are still waiting for officials to fix a dusty residential road - 20 years after the problem was first raised.
Ted Danych and his wife Anita live on Brown Rd in Brixton, near Waitara, and have been battling the New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) regarding the state of the unsealed roadway.
Vehicle traffic on the road leaves a trail of dust in its wake and when a westerly blows through, the grime floats up to the Danych property.
"It's 20 years of eating blinking dust," Ted Danych said.
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The dirt leaves a dusty film on the couple's vehicle and can soil freshly laundered washing if it is pegged up outside.
The bumpy, gravel road, which is also referred to as the Brown Rd Extension or Lower Brown Rd, stretches for 160 metres and provides access to three properties as well as to the Taranaki Naturists' Club.
However, despite efforts by residents to get the council to act, nothing has changed. Danych said the road was not a private one and the NPDC had a responsibility to maintain it.
But the NPDC says the road is used by such a small number of drivers it is not cost-effective to maintain it - with work to fix the dust problem estimated to cost around $30,000.
The Danychs, and others living in the area, have paid money out of their own pockets to fill in potholes and grade the road in the past.
A 25km sign was also installed in an effort to keep speed down in the area and reduce the impact of the dust on the surrounding properties.
In 2014, Danych made a submission to NPDC's annual plan hearing which outlined the ongoing issues with the road.
Danych also recalled a visit to the area by Peter Tennent during the time he was the elected mayor of the district.
"He came down and had a look and said 'yes, there's an issue'," he said.
However, a plan to tackle the problem has never been seen.
"We just want to stop the dust," Danych said.
"When the westerly blows, you can't even open up the doors and windows."
"I'm fed up with it," he said.
"Something should be done."
He said while the ideal outcome would be for the road to be tarsealed, he accepted the cost of this was high. However, he was open to any options which helped keep the dust down.
"If they could just grade it twice a year I'd be happy," he said.
David Langford, infrastructure manager with New Plymouth District Council, said: "Due to the very low numbers of vehicles using this section of the road it is not cost-effective for the council to maintain it.
"This approach is consistent with other unmaintained roads throughout the district.
"It's our role to prioritise how ratepayers' money is spent and ensure a balance approach for all of our 75,000 residents.
"Upgrading the road to a sealed surface is estimated to cost around $30k and due to the very low number of vehicles using this section of road it is not considered cost-effective."