Patels allege Kapiti Council are bullying them over firewood
Mayor Guru absent on burning issue
By Alan Tristram; photos by Helen Tristram
The Patel family at Raumati Beach say officials from the Kapiti Coast Council are harassing by forcing them to remove a firewood display from the pavement outside their popular Four Square shop.
Shirish Patel says it’s blatant discrimination because other shopkeepers are allowed to use the pavement outside their shops for displays, and for chairs and tables.
He says he’s appealed to another Indian migrant, Mayor ‘Guru’ Gurunathan, who came from Malaysia. But he says the Mayor has failed to respond.Shirish says it all started five months ago when a local woman made a complaint to the Kapiti Coast District Council (KCDC), saying the firewood was a safety issue.
Apparently, other shops were left alone.
First and only complaint
In the four years the popular Patel family have been running the shop, this was the first complaint they’d heard about their firewood.
The wood is a popular commodity at this time of the year and customers often loaded it straight from the pallet on the pavement to their car boots.
Mr Patel says he and his extended family often help customers do this, as there is a large elderly population in the area.
“The previous owner used to put firewood outside, he says. ” and we’ve done it for four years, with no problems. It’s still no problem, except for one person.
“We get about 600 people a week buying wood. This (trouble with the Council) is a pain in the arse to the community who come here.”
The Patel’s are disappointed with Mayor Gurunathan, who they appealed to for help.
“We used to see a lot of him before the election,” says Shirish,”but not much after! Obviously his mentality has changed since he is in power.”
Mr Patel says the Council’s claim that Kapiti is ‘Open for Business’ is questionable.
“The council should find a way to mitigate this issue'” he says,” rather than coming here and telling us to do this and that.”
Shirish Patel concludes his argument with the time honoured NZ phrase: “All we want is a fair go.”