Plea for action on dust declined

Mackenzie district councillor Graeme Page
Mackenzie district councillor Graeme Page

Residents of a busy Fairlie area have pleaded for immediate action on a dust problem, but their pleas could not be answered.

The Mackenzie District Council received a letter signed by nearly two dozen residents of Fairlie's Strathallan St and Hamilton Rd, expressing concern that several properties had been affected by the long-term effects of the dust.

"We feel the council has a responsibility to address this issue. We do not own the roads, the council has ownership," the letter said. "Ideally, we would like to see the tarseal extended along Hamilton and Strathallan Rds. We believe this would benefit not only current householders, but also future residents of the area."

The letter cited numerous complaints, including people's washing hung out on the line getting covered in dust, people's drains getting blocked by dust and health problems made worse by it.

However, Mackenzie district roading manager Suzy Ratahi's report said the cost of sealing the affected roads would be more than $200,000.

"It is highly unlikely that these two seal extensions would meet New Zealand Transport Agency subsidy requirements. So it would have to be fully funded by council," her report said.

Ms Ratahi said the council had no provision within its budgets for seal extensions, and the absence of a systematic approach for assessing applications caused frustration for ratepayers.

She recommended the council decline this particular application, but review its policy in the future.

The councillors agreed with this recommendation at their meeting on Tuesday. Cr Graeme Page said he sympathised with the residents.

"I've lived on a dusty road all my life," he said.

The Timaru Herald