A couple of months ago a 30,000 litre Firefighting Water Tank appeared at Hank Edwards Reserve. See The water tank at Hank Edwards Reserve.
When outside consultants contracted by Horowhenua District Council considered the Resource Consent for the tank they held the opinion that no-one would be affected by placing it in that position and so there was no need to consult anyone. See the note below about the Resource Consent process.
Turns out they were very wrong.
As you can see from the photo above its placement has caused a very ugly block on a previously pleasant view from houses opposite.
Moreover it’s a safety risk, as kids (or adults or dogs) are liable to bike or run at speed from Hank Edwards Reserve and the tank creates a blind spot for both drivers and those walking or cycling near the toilet block.
The August 1994 WBRA newsletter has information about Hank Edwards Reserve when it was set up. One key principle was:
As the trees grow they will be crown topped. That is the lower branches will be progressively removed, thereby retaining the vistas [view] of the beach and river.
After several meetings between folks from Horowhenua District Council, affected neighbours and members of the WBRA Committee, Council have agreed to relocate the tank close to the spot where you see the vehicle in the photo. In that location the trees will provide some screening, the vista will be retained, but the Fire Service requirements for the tank to be very visible and accessible will be met.
Council have also agreed to cover the roughly $5,000 cost of the relocation (the tank has to be drained, shift and refilled). That is appropriate as they should have consulted the community before placing it where the photo shows it.
Note on the Resource Consent process: if a member of the public requests a resource consent for work then Council staff consider it and make a determination. Council also has to apply for resource consents for work, but they can’t very well consider those applications themselves. In that case the application is sent to external consultants who make recommendations.
This whole thing has highlighted a problem in the Resource Consenting process. The external consultants decided there would be no need to consult those whose properties are nearby. Those neighbours were in fact affected by the tank’s location and there were safety implications for the community at large.
This may be something to comment on to the Horowhenua District Council as such decisions can affect any of us. In our view it should be a default to consult the community before any major action is taken.