Onslow to Fitzgerald alleyway closure
24 March 2015
ANOTHER Kawerau alleyway has moved a step closer to closure after residents living either side of the passage between Onslow and Fitzgerald streets appealed to the council.
During a regulatory and services committee meeting on March 17, Kawerau District Council agreed to notify residents of its intention to close the alleyway.
Finance and corporate services manager Peter Christophers said public notices and signs around the alleyway would notify users of the council’s intention and invite any submissions.
In November 2012 the council received the first submission to close the alleyway, it wrote to the four immediate neighbours, who all supported the closure.
Since this request Neighbourhoods of Healthy Homes has become active in the area.
Participating residents identified the alleyway as an area for improvement to give their neighbourhood a lift.
When this was proposed organisers were not aware of the outstanding closure request, and in response 22 people signed and presented a petition to the council on February 24.
The petition said the council consulted with residents immediately adjacent to the alleyway, but should have consulted with the wider neighbourhood, which used the passage.
It asked the council to postpone any closure decision until they had a chance to prepare a formal proposal to retain the alleyway.
This proposal would include a mural in the alleyway, similar to the one between Onlsow and Robinson streets, which was also a Healthy Homes project.
Creating the mural acted as a bridge between young and old residents, and Onslow and Fitzgerald street residents wanted to see these results replicated in their area.
Councillor Chris Marjoribanks said there were a lot of good intentions surrounding the alleyway but he had a greater appreciation for the concerns of residents living directly next door.
He said the closure was agreed to by the four immediate neighbours which was the main thing and losing the passage would not create a significant impact for pedestrians.
Mayor Malcolm Campbell said an employee of his had lived next door to an alleyway that created a nightmare for neighbours trying to sleep.
“It’s fine for people who walk through it once a day, but it’s hell for the people living next door.”
In a letter supporting the closure, neighbour Janice Cunningham said people climbed from the alleyway into her property and the alleyway became noisy at night.
Kawerau police also provided a letter which supported closing the alleyway.
Previously Kawerau District Council held a policy of closing infrequently-used alleyways, but also agreed to retain alleyways when the community submitted against a closure decision.
Mr Christophers said if the closure proceeded neighbouring properties would be given a “licence to occupy”, which incorporated the land into their properties for up to five years at a time.
This method was cheaper and less time-consuming than a formal closure.
The council had budgeted $3290 for alleyway closures in the 2014-2015 financial year and the funds would cover the removal of the concrete path and a fence at both ends of the passage.
Source: Whakatane Beacon