Fair use of public land versus the 'partnership' model the Nelson City Council uses and the Brook Valley Community Group.
I started to notice Nelson City Councils bully tactics in 2012 when the council and its ‘partners’ decided to single handedly change my Brook Valley neighbourhood by introducing mountain biking and support illegal use of roads and footpaths by bikers and their cars by not providing adequate parking. Older people stopped using the footpaths as they did not feel safe, one man ran over a child twice while slowly driving out from his driveway. The child was racing down the footpath on his bike and people who felt unsafe with the ‘new’ Brook Valley started to move away. The parking issues around Codgers were partly rectified in 2019 by taking a lovely green area and make it into parking lot.
The council also decided to lease the former Waterworks reserve to the Brook Waimarama Trust and allowed for the building of a predator preventative fence on unstable ground despite local and geotechnical people voiced valid concerns. The NCC and the Brook Trust took a gamble, and it failed. Despite big slips 26.5 tonnes of brodifacoum baits were dropped despite the knowledge how destructive this is to the environment as a whole. Four Tuatara died by eating cockroaches that had eaten rat poison and subsequently were poisoned while being in the care of Naturland Zoo.
As for the Brook Motorcamp, the council basically wanted it gone and have over the years done what they can to run it down and make it uneconomical. There’s been several pieces written about this in the Nelson Mail. The bottomline now there’s a fence destabilising the hillsides leaving huge scars which will take many decades, if ever due to the type of rock for any growth to hold it together again.
The Brook Valley Community Group was formed when the council were busy nurturing partnerships with chosen groups with business interests, and other user groups and Brook residents were excluded from public land and public consultation. This is a model that erode democracy. Today we tried to get an appointment to speak to ALL councillors during the public forum 10 minute slot as we want them to learn something from the expensive Brook debacle. Despite that there were no other speakers there, our lawyer were denied to speak for the BVCG. Instead we were offered to talk to a sub-committee next week. Over the last 8 years it has been very clear that most councillors don't understand the full picture and someone has successfully managed to stop the information sharing. Does not make for a smart little city. Sadly the same stupidity that we have experienced can happen in your neighbourhood if the council doesn't learn from its mistakes.
Included is part of a presentation lawyer Sue Grey were going to present to the councillors today.
"PUBLIC SUBMISSION TO NELSON CITY COUNCIL FOR COUNCIL HEARING 13 Feb 2020
MORATORIUM ON RELEASE TO 10am Thursday 13 February
By Sue Grey LLB(Hons), BSc, RSHDipPHI for Brook Valley Community Group inc
I appear to raise council’s awareness about conflict between its obligation under the Local Government Act. The council has statutory duties to promote community well-being and engage with communities. Its recent actions in choosing to try to terminate a community group which has a long history of representing community interests in one of the lower socio economic parts of Nelson- the Brook Valley Community Group – are in conflict with these duties.
The BVCG has a long history of constructive and responsible advocacy for the Brook community. A schedule is attached
BCVG’s represents the views of local and often elderly citizens who would not otherwise be heard. That is why hearing its views is so important.
BVCG raised ongoing concerns about the reclassification, privatisation, fencing, locking, poisoning, ongoing subsidisation with substantial public funds1 and now charging for access2 to the former Nelson water reservoir known as the Brook sanctuary.
The Brook Sanctuary has been a massive white elephant that has blocked free community access to a once much loved public reserve, divided the community, reduced its former role in education and undermined democracy and community engagement.
The community raised legitimate concerns- many of which have been proven correct- including the instability of the land for a predator proof fence, the undermining and long term disruption of the historic Dunn Mountain Trial, the inevitable poisoning of native species such as ruru and weka and secondary bykill from the brodifacoum poison (which simultaneously killed 4 tuatara at Natureland)3 and the lack of financial viability of the project despite the peppercorn rental for the public land and multi-million dollar and considerable injections of ratepayer and other public funds.
The community challenged some of the decisions through the courts, to the highest level. The court recognised the importance of access to justice despite the community’s disclosed lack of funds, reducing security for costs4 and waiving court fees.
Now council staff seek to liquidate Brook Valley and close down its voice.
I’m here to ask for two things:
1. A transparent inquiry and report on what the Nelson Council has learned from the Brook Sanctuary project and what actions will be taken in future to better protect the public access to public land, its use of ratepayer funds and its engagement with affected persons who have legitimate concerns;
2. An agreement that consultation, community engagement and community wellbeing must take priority over the discretionary debt collecting functions of the council- with the council walking the walk and withdrawing its action seeking to wind up the BVCG."
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It could take two years before upgrades are completed on a proposal to concrete the floor of Tahunanui's algae-ridden Modellers Pond - even if it is approved by council in the near future.
A new housing development in Atawhai and the Maitai Valley has the potential to include up to 700 new houses. While the Nelson City Council is looking to set up infrastructure to accommodate the new development, some councillors are concerned it could have negative effects on the environment in the Maitai.
What are your thoughts on the plan? Let us know in the comments section below.