Smoke under fire

Councillor's burnout pad has the brakes put on it

Councillor's burnout pad has the brakes put on it

Stacey Torr makes the most of the burnout pad at Tararua District councillor Ernie Christison’s work and home base at Rua Roa. Photo / Christine McKay

An abatement notice from his own council has put the brakes on Tararua District councillor Ernie Christison’s burnout pad at Rua Roa. Mr Christison gained national publicity when he opened his business premises to young people wanting to get off the road and do “donuts” and burnouts legally.

Admitting he was probably one of Tararua’s oldest boy racers, Mr Christison — one of the youth portfolio holders for the council — listened to the pleas for somewhere to burn rubber legally. With a pall of smoke and flying rubber, Mr Christison’s wood yard allowed the youngsters to do burnouts and burn off some adrenalin.

However, there were requirements Mr Christison had to follow, including applying for a resource consent, a health and safety requirement that everyone wear protective glasses, and an insistence by district mayor Tracey Collis to communicate with his neighbours.

In March Mr Christison was served with an abatement notice by the council, ordering the burnout nights to stop.

“I had to pull the plug on the burnouts immediately, otherwise my business was threatened if it continued. If we had run one more burnout night they would have prosecuted me,” he said.

Mr Christison said the abatement notice was a shock.

But Mrs Collis said Mr Christison had been sent two letters advising him of the requirements to be met.

“There had been complaints,” she said. “He has to follow the rules in respect of being the land owner,” she said.

Chris Berkahn, father of young driver Kyle, said the club had dealt with health and safety requirements and would like to see common sense from the council.

“The burnout pad was about keeping the kids off our streets. I want our council to be supportive.”

Kyle Berkahn said young people appreciated what Mr Christison had done for them.

“He’s been real good to us and it’s great to be given somewhere to go,” he said.

— Hawkes Bay Today

An abatement notice from his own council has put the brakes on Tararua District councillor Ernie Christison’s burnout pad at Rua Roa. Mr Christison gained national publicity when he opened his business premises to young people wanting to get off the road and do “donuts” and burnouts legally.

Admitting he was probably one of Tararua’s oldest boy racers, Mr Christison — one of the youth portfolio holders for the council — listened to the pleas for somewhere to burn rubber legally. With a pall of smoke and flying rubber, Mr Christison’s wood yard allowed the youngsters to do burnouts and burn off some adrenalin.

However, there were requirements Mr Christison had to follow, including applying for a resource consent, a health and safety requirement that everyone wear protective glasses, and an insistence by district mayor Tracey Collis to communicate with his neighbours.

In March Mr Christison was served with an abatement notice by the council, ordering the burnout nights to stop.

“I had to pull the plug on the burnouts immediately, otherwise my business was threatened if it continued. If we had run one more burnout night they would have prosecuted me,” he said.

Mr Christison said the abatement notice was a shock.

But Mrs Collis said Mr Christison had been sent two letters advising him of the requirements to be met.

“There had been complaints,” she said. “He has to follow the rules in respect of being the land owner,” she said.

Chris Berkahn, father of young driver Kyle, said the club had dealt with health and safety requirements and would like to see common sense from the council.

“The burnout pad was about keeping the kids off our streets. I want our council to be supportive.”

Kyle Berkahn said young people appreciated what Mr Christison had done for them.

“He’s been real good to us and it’s great to be given somewhere to go,” he said.

— Hawkes Bay Today

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