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High Street power lines to be laid underground

September 15th, 2011
[by David Armstrong]

The power lines supplier for Motueka, Network Tasman Ltd, has signalled its intention to progressively move all the power cables in High Street underground over three years beginning mid-2012.

This pleasing piece of news was reported at the Motueka Community Board meeting held on Tuesday, but it does come with a set of conditions. These include landowners agreement to underground the service lines (to buildings) at their cost, and TDC replacing all street lighting, adequately siting transformers and switchgear, and arranging all necessary easements.

There was not so much joy, however, with the board's efforts (assisted by letters from MP Damien O'Connor to Transport Minister Steven Joyce) to get NZTA to reconsider what locals see as an urgent need for traffic lights at the High Street intersection with Pah and Greenwood streets.

The minister replied on two occasions that NZTA, which controls State Highway 60, has advised him that "while it believes the traffic light project has merit, its profile was not sufficiently high for it to gain funding in the 2011/12 financial year". He said the project will be reconsidered for funding as part of the 2012/15 programmes, and that the board and Motueka residents will have the opportunity to comment on the 2012/15 plan when it comes out in November.

Also discussed at the community board meeting was some refurbishment to be done at Motueka Cemetery off Old Wharf Road, for which $10,000 has been budgeted from the Reserves Fund. The parking area will be improved, along with fencing and the walkways in the cemetery grounds, and a programme of major plantings of sizeable trees will be commenced.

The council aims to prepare a plan for the cemetery and associated costings within a couple of months. $6000 is also budgeted for work at the Fletts Road cemetery, but there are no details yet of how it may be spent.

During the public forum before the board meeting, two Kaiteriteri business operators expressed their deep concern about new restrictions placed by the harbourmaster on operations, and in particular that the restrictions were not publicly notified or open to consultation with those affected.

The board agreed that it seemed unreasonably restrictive that power boat and water skiing operations within 200m of the shore were to be banned outside of the period of two hours each side of high tide. The water sports operator said this would likely force him to close his business.

Board members who spoke, including ward councillors, said they were surprised and believed there had not been a problem to date so why the change now? They said they would approach the harbourmaster and ask if he could attend the next board meeting to explain the new rules, and to explain why there was no consultation or notification to business owners in the area.

Another public forum issue raised by a group of six very vocal and passionate Riwaka residents were concerns about the continuing existence of a pig farm in their Five Green Tree Road and School Road neighbourhood, too close to residential properties, they said.

Tabling a residents' petition and photos to back their case, primary speaker Colin Morris said they have become angry that TDC has refused during the past year to investigate and stop it, while relationships with the property owner ("the neighbour from hell") have broken down.

They said the primary issue is the unbearable smell but also times of great noise and the effect of the effluent on the nearby Little Sydney Stream and the Riwaka Estuary. The board accepted the petition and said they would look into it, acknowledging that it was difficult when previous friends became adversaries.

 



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