A march on the Hawke's Bay Regional Council's Napier office may go ahead if the public decides there hasn't been enough time to digest and understand the mountain of reports on the Ruataniwha water storage project.
The regional council came in for a roasting at a meeting attended by a small but passionate group of people worried about the multi-million dollar plan to build the reservoir in Central Hawke's Bay.
The meeting was called by Sustaining Hawke's Bay Trust at the Environment Centre in Hastings yesterday afternoon as part of an open discussion about the regional council's Tukituki Choices document and its water storage project.
There were a lot of questions fired at the only regional councillor at the meeting, Ewan McGregor, who could only stay for a short time before heading to another meeting.
Mr McGregor made it clear the regional council wanted to hear what people thought about the project but after he left, those remaining made the point there were few councillors actually attending meetings to hear what the public had to say.
The complexity and number of reports on the dam project had people worried over whether Hawke's Bay ratepayers fully understood the economic and environmental pros and cons of the project.
Some at last night's meeting questioned whether regional councillors were in the best position to vote on taking the dam project to the next stage when it was clear they had not read all of the reports and the project was being driven by regional council staff.
It was suggested a march on the regional council office should be considered for October 31, which was when councillors were due to vote on the issue.
Others, like John Cheyne, Central Hawke's Bay, said it would be a good idea to request a deputation which would allow a few people to present directly to councillors before they voted.
People accepted the regional council had over-allocated permits to take underground and surface water and the dam would help ease the problem, returning higher flow levels to rivers.
"So, if we don't want the dam, we have to say what we could do instead which would provide more water for our rivers while providing water for farmers," Mr Cheyne said.
Another speaker, Barrie Ridler, Poraiti, said some of the questions put to the regional council from peer reviews on the dam project had not been fully answered.
He said the dam project was "full of holes" and the regional council was pushing it through before people had time to consider what could be one of the biggest projects in Hawke's Bay's history.