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Tetchy meeting ends year for community board

December 14th, 2011
[by David Armstrong]

Motueka is suffering from Christmas-buildup pressures if yesterday's Community Board meeting is any indication, with numerous short exchanges in the public forum and board meeting proper producing a tetchy atmosphere.

No huge controversies were debated this month but a wide range of mainly ongoing and unresolved issues littered the meeting, including the aerodrome noise and operation, civil defence, spending of the special projects fund, footpaths and cycle lanes, vandalism and council operations.

At the public forum, Dave De Long told the board that the Residents Association of which he was spokesman would be launching a petition early next year that will call for a cap on council rates and services, due to the rates becoming "unaffordable".

Aerodrome:  Several speakers complained about what they saw as the excessive noise being made by the acrobatic aeroplanes and the helicopters over the town, and demanded that the council, through the mayor who attended the meeting, take steps to fix this problem.

Later in the meeting proper, councillor Barry Dowler expressed his growing anger at people who came into the town to live and then complained about the noise: "If newcomers don't like the noise, they've moved to the wrong town," he said. Board member Mark Chapman agreed, and councillor Eileen Wilkins said simply that if air operators are breaking the law they need to be prosecuted.

At the public forum Tom Battisti presented the results of a scientific study he had conducted on noise levels, particularly in relation to the bio-physical effects on children at nearby schools and kindergartens, which found some areas of concern that also had implications for the plans for the nearby Motueka West development.

The lack of transparency of financial reports from the council's airport managers was also the subject of complaint, with renewed urging that the management be returned to control by a local committee. It was noted that the new management plan is due for release in a few months and this will provide a basis for any move to local control. Barry Dowler indicated that, though he was not able to give details due to confidentiality, there were some "hairy arrangements" that had been made regarding some of the commercial uses of the field.

Civil defence:  Roger Ball, Civil Defence manager for Nelson and Tasman, was invited to speak to the board about the updated arrangements being put in place to deal with the outcomes of natural disasters. He said that many of the settlements in Tasman now have plans in place, and Motueka is the next one to be sorted. Finalisation is expected in March next year.

Board members agreed that although they have no role to play in CD operations, they have a key role in raising awareness of residents about the need to be prepared and ensuring that the correct information is being publicised in effective ways and channels.

Renaming of Wharf Road, Motueka:  Due to there being three road names in the ward with "Wharf" in them, the board recommends that Wharf Road Motueka be renamed to avoid confusion for emergency services and general use. There was a consensus that a new name should be adopted that reflects the huge contribution that Bob Cooke has made to the walkways and reserves in the vicinity of Wharf Road.

At its next meeting, the board will formalise the start of a process for a name change. Three names suggested were Bobs Way, Bobs Road and Bob Cooke Road, but proper consultation will need to be undergone which will allow other suggestions. (Alister Paulin suggested to me "Bob Each Way".)

Special projects:  The money which had been set aside from last year's budget surplus (see our story here) is now being spent, and two of the projects that topped the list voted on by residents (litter cart and Woodlands canal walkway) have been dropped in favour of ones suggested by board members and councillors themselves.

One portion has gone into fixing pram/scooter crossings at several town street corners. $12,000 will be used to the footpath project from Whakarewa Street to Pah Street on the eastern side of Queen Victoria Street, and another $12,000 to constructing a gravel path along Staples Street from Thorp Street to connect with the shared path in High Street (subject to consultation with residents). $5,300 will be spent on portable security cameras to be used around town.

Cycle lanes:  Board chairman David Ogilvie presented his detailed research on the existing cycleways, cycle lanes (so far none) and shared pathways in and around Motueka. He added a list of streets which may qualify to have painted cycle lanes included. (Read his full report here).

He recommended that his report be referred to council's Engineering Services Department for consideration and action, including cycle lanes on Pah, Grey and Whakarewa streets to be marked by June 2012 and many others to be done in the following year.

General:  David asked board members to keep every Tuesday evening for the first three months of 2012 free as there will be many meetings and workshops to attend to as the list of work to be done mounts.


Comment by Philip Grimmett:
[Posted 18 December 2011]

Thanks to David Olgilvie for his efforts to make Motueka cycling better and hopefully safer. While visiting the region I was impressed at the amount of cycle pathways in Nelson and Richmond. Motueka could be a beacon of a cycle friendly township. Imagine legions of kids safely cycling to school with all the attendant benefits to the town and the environment.

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