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Steve Morris: Papamoa leaflet ‘misleading’

Steve Morris.

An anonymous leaflet appearing in Papamoa residents letterboxes raising concerns about the waterways has turned out to be misleading.

The leaflet, which was distributed to residents in the Royal Palm Beach Estate area stated that representatives from the Tauranga City Council would be at a public meeting on Thursday so residents could have their say about the waterways and how the council plans to turn the ‘beautiful park-style riverside area into a wetland’.

The proposed meeting was scheduled to take place on Thursday at 9.30am, but according to a Tauranga City Council spokesperson it was arranged for the project manager for the Wairakei Landscape Plan to meet with the model sailing yacht club to discuss the club’s needs and what opportunities there were to support the club’s activities at 9am.

The council spokesperson says this meeting was set up after the club contacted the council.

“Unbeknownst to our project manager a flyer had been distributed around the area as well as a call out via Papamoa Link (a community Facebook page), stating that our project manager would attend a public meeting about the landscape plan at 9.30am.

The leaflet that Councillor Steve Morris is calling ‘Fake News’. Image: Supplied.

“Nobody on the project team at the council had been invited to this meeting. Our member of staff was put in front of a large group and approached in a verbally aggressive way by a few individuals. He did not feel comfortable to engage and left.”

The spokesperson says Councillor Leanne Browne was advised about the meeting at 9.40pm on Wednesday night, but was unable to attend as she was out of town.

“She says she is happy to meet with residents at a formal meeting, after gathering all facts about consultation and engagement from the start of the project (2016) to date.”

Tauranga City Councillor for Mount Maunganui and Papamoa Steve Morris took to his Facebook page last night after finding out about the leaflet.

“At 5pm this evening I received a copy of this anonymous leaflet which was distributed to residents in Papamoa’s Royal Palm Beach Estate on Thursday.

“It stated that at 9.30am this morning there was to be a meeting with councillors on site to discuss the waterway. This information was false, no invitation and no meeting with councillors was organised. A number of concerns raised in the leaflet are very valid. However, some are false: The waterway IS NOT being converted to a wetland.

“I have written to the CEO of TCC tonight. It is my expectation that council meet with residents to hear, and take on board their concerns regarding both the landscaping and level of consultation.

“To the 200 people who attended this morning, I would have loved to have been with you this morning, however the leaflet writer never invited councillors!

“I watched the Palm Beach waterway being constructed in 1993 and I love and appreciated them too. I’ll be in touch regarding a meeting (this time with your councillors) in the near future.”

The area that is being mention in the leaflet and from Steve is waterways down Papamoa east, with Golden Sands Drive running through it. Golden Sands School also backs onto the waterways.

The Tauranga City spokesperson says the area is and always has been a storm water reserve.

“Through the Wairakei landscape plan the council is enhancing the recreational function of the area by constructing cycle ways, seating, signage and planting the water’s edge.

“We are planting wetland plants on the edge of the Wairakei Stream and reshaping various areas of the existing watercourse.

“The planting as part of the wetland may grow to a height of approximately 800m, so should have minimal effect on the resident’s water views.

“Council has received some complaints from residents, questioning the proximity of cycle way tracks to their properties, and why part of an existing path needed to change location. We have worked with these residents and where possible, the proposed track alignment has been adjusted.

“We have also worked with a local group that uses the lakes to sail and have worked on a solution to support them.”

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