Most sections in the established part of town are around 800sqm and the minimum size for any new section is 1500sqm. But with no access to either town water or a council wastewater scheme, subdivision is not an option. And this is just the way a lot of the locals like it.
The town population is a mix of residents and holidaymakers, many escaping city life for the peace and quiet of the country. There is also a diversity of backgrounds, from fishermen and surfers, to academics involved in the Leigh Marine Laboratory, contractors, professionals and retirees.
The hub of the community is the primary school with a roll of 50 pupils, which has remained fairly constant over many years.
Principal Julie Turner says the school benefits from the tremendous support it receives from the community, particularly for the annual Easter carnival, which normally raises around $24,000.
There is also a library, fire station, bowling club and church. The Omaha Marae, a testament to the area’s long history of settlement, sits on the northern side of the harbour. The marine reserve and the Leigh Sawmill Café, with its regular line-up of gigs, have been drawcards to the area for many years.
Leigh Ex-services and Community president Bernie Middleton says Leigh is a caring community, where everyone knows one another.
The club has 80 members and organises events such as Anzac Day, the Mid-Winter Christmas and Christmas events. Social nights are held on Fridays, where there is also twilight bowls in the summer.
The tennis club, which nearly folded, is actively raising funds to improve the courts, and there are a number of social groups including several book clubs, a wine appreciation club and a weekly cards night.
A recent initiative is the summer markets. An organiser, Lucy Harris, says the markets have been very successful, in part because they have a great community feel.
“You can see locals wandering about chatting with stall holders, friends and neighbours,” she says. “The markets have been a great way to showcase what others are doing in terms of crafts and businesses.”
As with other parts of Rodney, roading is a perennial issue.
Lucy says that while some people want the Pakiri Road sealed, others hope that doesn’t happen and she says there is probably the same split in opinion about a sewerage system.
“The new septic systems are very efficient and some visitors are often impressed by what they see as a very green/eco-housing approach.”
Bernie says that before there is any further development, roading infrastructure needs to addressed.