'Not everyone is happy about being watched'

Reefton. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Reefton. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Buller Mayor Jamie Cleine is suggesting Reefton people be consulted over plans to set up a network of security cameras in their town.

The Inangahua Community Board heard last night that a proposal involving local business people and the police, for a surveillance system in public places was now ready to go ahead.

Chairman John Bougen said the business association, Reefton Inc, now had $17,000 in the kitty to set up the cameras in Broadway and the three entrances to the town.

"The businesses started up a shop front contribution fund some time ago, but the problem has always been the cost, and the monitoring."

The police had now agreed to take care of the monitoring as needed, the council supported the proposal and the cameras could go up tomorrow, Mr Bougen said.

The mayor sounded a note of warning.

"I think the project is generally accepted but how about some public consultation? Not everyone is happy about being watched -- this is quite a change in attitude for a place like Reefton, and it could maybe cause a few problems later on if people aren't aware of what's happening.

"Does everyone want to be monitored every time they go out and maybe park at someone's house they shouldn't be at?", Mr Cleine joked.

Mr Bougen said Reefton businesses had wanted the security cameras "for ages".

"I'd like to know who the little s..ts are who keep knocking down the hanging baskets, and the police need information on driving offences."

The cameras should also be installed in The Strand, with more people and their dogs using the area as it was cleared and tidied in the current revitalisation project, Mr Bougen said.

Cr Dave Hawes was also in favour.

"As far as I'm concerned the first camera can go under the town bridge so we can see who's defecating there."

The deposits under the bridge had become a problem since the former freedom camping site toilets were locked earlier this year, when government funding from the tourism levy for their maintenance ceased, Cr Hawes said.

Lois Williams - Local democracy reporter

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