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Quay memorial a challenge for some drivers

March 28th, 2017
[by David Armstrong]

Atrocious reverse driving around the car parking area beside the old Motueka wharf have led TDC to use rocks to keep out cars while the old Tarrant memorial is repaired.

In recent years the substantial concrete base of the memorial has been chipped away by vehicles presumably backing in the area without seeing the structure, as evidenced by the amounts of shattered clear and red plastic glass from rear lights.

The memorial is sited in the centre of an asphalt turning circle, which is also used to give people with vehicles and trailers access to the foreshore beside the old wharf to launch small boats and kayaks (on the right of the photo above).

The memorial itself (photographed here in 2013) is being restored in a project by a committee of the Motueka RSA, and will reunited with its base and re-dedicated in early July. But even while it has been removed, the concrete base has been hit several times.

This prompted TDC to hire a stonemason to build a 40cm high protective enclosure. However, even since the last stones were mortared, some have already been knocked away by yet another inattentive driver.

Council's further answer was to place huge rocks on the turning road, preventing entry to all vehicles, including those wishing to take in boats to launch.

Several locals have expressed dismay, fearing these rocks may become permanent. One said the whole memorial should be shifted to the green area beyond the bollards, because poor drivers will still damage the low rock wall instead of the actual memorial where it stands.

They said that at least the local residents should have been consulted in the process, rather than seeing the changes suddenly appear.

The Council is committed to working with Keep Motueka Beautiful to complete a landscape plan of the whole Motueka Quay area in the next 12 months.

Work is still under way also by a separate trust to finance and implement a restoration of the old wharf structure.

Click here if you want to read about the history of the Tarrant memorial.

Comment by Marion Edwin:
[Posted 3 March 2017]

As a human factors specialist (a.k.a. ergonomist) this story suggests to me that there are likely issues with visibility and placement of the structure for the activities typical of vehicles in this area. This may be more so with drivers unfamiliar with the layout (e.g. visitors), and likely to be made more challenging with the boat access area.

Therefore rather than labelling the driving skills of those unfortunate enough to have taken out tail lights as 'atrocious', I would suggest that the overall design and layout of the area is questionable and should be revisited by council. If drivers of vehicles had difficulties seeing and missing a taller concrete structure in the middle of a car-parking/turning area, it is hardly more likely that they will see and avoid a 400mm high stone wall (without the tall structure in the centre) that is even shorter and less obvious than the memorial, and perhaps takes up more of the turning and parking space.

Consider the types of vehicles that are more likely to be using/visiting the area - is there a high percentage of boat trailers, motor homes etc that may have more challenging lines of sight? Visibility of the grey statue and new grey stone wall may also be poor, especially in low light, so lighting should also be considered.

Most people don't set out to run into things in their vehicles. But sometimes things are placed where avoiding them is far more challenging than it needs to be. Let's be hard on the designers not the poor unfortunate drivers.

It could be a darned good call to place the memorial off to the side where it will be harder for vehicles to have unfortunate accidents with it, and will also be safer for pedestrians to access the memorial. For both of these reasons a considered review of the memorial's placement should be undertaken.

Comment by Coralie Smith:
[Posted 10 March 2017]

The Tarrant Memorial was placed in this position in 1903 well before there were motor cars. The problem as I see it is that there is driving access allowed around it. I can see difficulties with shifting it to one side as it has water and power coming into it for the water trough and the lamp on top to be lit. I would agree not seeing it is quite likely but leave it where it is and restrict access around it. A boat ramp further along away from the memorial makes more sense to me and probably easier to do as well. (Now tell me how wrong I am).

Also, I understand that the RSA has nothing to do with the Tarrant Memorial being restored. It is a private group and may have RSA members but not driven by the RSA. Maybe you could ask the RSA to clarify.

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