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Cycle trail, Kaiteriteri Road head council submissions

April 25th, 2012
[by David Armstrong]

Tasman District Council's dropping of support for the extension of the Great Taste Trail cycleway and delays in fixing the Riwaka-Kaiteriteri Road were the subjects of most of requests heard by councillors during submissions to its draft Long Term Plan in Motueka yesterday.

As expected, most of the submissions were aimed at more general fiscal matters, including council's debt levels and rising rates, as well as what critics see as operating inefficiencies, excessive bureaucracy and unnecessarily high council staff levels.

Speakers at yesterday's meeting were only those who wanted to speak to their written submissions - this was only a fraction of the total number of submissions made this year.

The main specific complaint heard was about the state of the road to Kaiteriteri, which attracting 99 submissions in total. At least eight of those speaking yesterday complained that the draft LTP said that council will not budget any improvements to the road for the next decade.

Complaints were strongly put, mainly in relation to safety for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, the stalling of repairs to the slip at Turners Bluff, and the detrimental effect on tourism to the national park. The words "disgrace", "unacceptable" and "nightmare" were used liberally by several speakers. There was some criticism aimed at iwi and the Historic Places Trust.

Councillors tried to assure speakers that the issues around the re-alignment of the road, which has stopped while archaeological investigations are carried out, should be resolved soon. They also said they would look closely at one suggestion to install a one-way section, controlled by traffic lights, across the slip-damaged section, as an interim solution.

Five of the submitters who spoke yesterday pleaded with council to restore support funding that will help the Great Taste Trail to develop further from Mapua to Motueka and up the valley to Tapawera, as well as the third leg from Brightwater, completing the triangle.

Lesley Hadley, representing the Motueka Valley Association (MVA), said that good cycling routes should also be seen by council as parts of its core transport infrastructure and strategy, not just there for recreation and tourism.

For example, as more vehicle traffic uses the Motueka Valley Highway, which cannot be widened, having a safe cycling alternative would not only make cycling safer but also ease road use. The Great Taste Trail will align closely with that aim.

"The general push for the Great Taste Trail is because of obvious regional commercial benefits," she said. "These economic effects will build and ripple through the community.

"However, the MVA sees that the benefits for the local residents in their own daily lifestyles are just as important. When walking or cycling in rural areas like ours, you are forced onto the main road. Even kids going to school are discouraged because it's too dangerous."

When questioned, she suggested the extra funding that will be withdrawn under the LTP could come from reduced spending on roading in Richmond, which has already received its fair share of late.

Other issues which prompted strong submissions at the hearing included requests to postpone to a later date the proposed Motueka Library extension; further consideration of a vessel service area proposal for Port Motueka; and a plea re reinstate a funding plan for the Motueka swimming pool.


Comment by Philip Grimmett:
[Posted 30 April 2012]

Thanks for a great and positive resource for the benefit of our community. It is good to see that citizens are advocating for the cycle trail which could be part of making Motueka a cyclist's paradise which, with a little council support and vision, should be easily attainable in the near future.

Its time has come. Overseas cyclists have been coming up the Motueka valley for years and appreciating our wonderful environment and we have not really woken up to this potential to enhance our own quality of life. Cycling on roads is dangerous and every effort should be made to improve safety at the planning stages and not simply as a tack-on after thought. Ian Miller's column on this site about cycling around town are admirable.

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