Tauranga’s former ‘corridor of crime’ - the pedestrian access way between Sapphire and Harrisfield Drives - is to be closed permanently.
The council has decided the Hairini walkway, which closed as a temporary trial on April 20, 2011, will have its reserve status revoked and land sold to residents.
This walkway is to be closed permanently and land sold to surrounding property owners.
For the access way’s ten adjoining landowners, the council decision marks the completion of five years of campaigning.
The landowners have agreed to pay the estimated $20,000 costs of closing the walkway, including survey, preparation of plans and documents, LINZ fees and council costs – plus pay any repairs to the berms at either end of the walkway.
The surrounding residents have blamed the 140m long walkway on their troubles since 2008 stating people using it are responsible for vandalism, graffiti, abusive language and thefts from adjoining and nearby properties.
The council will now begin the process of revoking its status and allocating land.
There is 450m2 of land involved at a cost between $4500 to $6000, with some neighbours receiving less than 100m2.
It was the degree of expense the neighbours were prepared to incur that persuaded councillor Wayne Moultrie to change his mind and vote for the walkway’s closure.
“The financial outlay far exceeds the actual value of the land itself. They are paying market price plus, and that has persuaded me to go along with the recommendation.”
Councillor Terry Malloy was not convinced.
“I believe it’s a retrograde step. The majority of land owners to all public accesses are likely to prefer to buy or licence the land, rather than have public access next to their property,” says Terry.
“We have to be very, very careful here that we don’t set a precedent.”