Landowners object to $40,000 roadworks

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 05/02/2014

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Roadworks on a small piece of unsealed road that leads to nowhere have been labelled a waste of time and money by nearby landowners.

Work to fix a slip at the end of Piko Rd, near Urenui, was halted temporarily yesterday after opposition from Andrew Wilson and Mandy Tatham, who own land next to the road, and Clifton Community Board member John Hill.

The $40,000 roadworks were being carried out a few metres before the end of the road.

Mr Hill said there was a bach at the end of the street and the owner stayed overnight occasionally.

"This is a no-exit road. No one lives up here. What's the point in spending $40,000?"

The work was unnecessary and "over-engineered," he said.

"Why don't they just move the road over a couple of metres? A retreat they call it. It's still on road reserve. They don't have to buy any land."

Mrs Tatham said the work was a waste of money.

"Council is putting fill into a river, pushing the watercourse in a narrow valley 10 metres out of its bed and building up a new roadbed on fill supposedly from our property."

The first she heard of the work was when a contractor called her asking for 700 cubic metres of soil from her property for the work.

"It's a waste of money. I'd far rather see the tarseal done at the [other] end of the road. We're back-country kids. We are used to common sense decisions."

Further down Piko Rd, dairy farmer Paul O'Leary rang the council this week to discuss having a 250-metre dust strip built near his cowshed.

He was told there was no money allocated for that kind of work in the foreseeable future.

Yet they decided to spend money on changing a river at the end of a road where no one lived, Mr O'Leary said.

"It's bizarre."

But roading assets manager Max Aves said the council had decided not to fund dust-coat seals anywhere in the district during the three-year long-term plan period.

The roadworks, however, came out of a different budget.

Storm damage had caused a substantial slip and the council had looked at several options, he said.

"What we have come up with is rock protection, some culvert work there, and reinstatement of the earth embankment and the carriageway."

Sometimes the cheapest job was not the best long term, Mr Aves said.

"We want it to last and be able to withstand other rainfall events and high river flows."

Mr Aves will contact the landowners, and then contractors will resume work.

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