Residents fired up over Rocks Rd development

KATE DAVIDSON
Last updated 12:06 08/08/2014
Waterfront Association's wooden model
MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ

WHAT'S IN STORE: The Waterfront Association's wooden model illustrating what the Nelson City Council's proposed concrete wall would look like along Wakefield Quay and Rocks Rd. The model is outside the Boat House on Wakefield Quay.

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The debate over what to do with Rocks Rd is heating up.

Public meetings on Wednesday night and last Sunday at The Boatshed drew residents concerned about two options for the route's redevelopment.

Nelson City Council and New Zealand Transport Agency staff outlined the concepts - option one with separate cycle lanes on the road and a widened footpath and option two with a shared 4m pathway.

At Wednesday's meeting, which drew about 50 people, including Rocks Rd residents, some favoured neither option.

"What they have given is two concepts and people are going to have to choose between them, but they are not giving the option to disagree with both of them or do anything else," resident Mark Newman said.

He said the road and footpath could easily be cleaned up, slips from the cliffs could be fixed, and the concepts were really just about cyclists.

Newman said a section in the Nelson resource management plan prohibited work on the sea wall and anything affecting the view of houses on Wakefield Quay, which left the two ideas unworkable.

"The council won't be allowed to issue a resource consent that's directly against their plan and they'll never get it in court and it has just been a waste of money," he said.

Fellow Rocks Rd resident Tony Gowans said the southern link needed to go through first and it would sort out Rocks Rd and Waimea Rd. "We need a third option," he said.

"If they are going to start whinging about Victory Square and school and what have you, what about Boys College, what about Girls College, what about Hampden St, what about Tahunanui school. They're as bad off."

Gowans and Newman stood against the options because of the loss of car parks as well.

Other attendees Fraser White and Julie Baker from Tahunanui said option one was sensible and questioned why those on Rocks Rd had bought houses along a highway and not expected the flow of traffic and trucks. "If they like roads so much why don't they buy a house in Victory Square and see what happens when the southern link goes through," said Baker.

Chris Allison from Bicycle Nelson Bays, which backs concept two, said the number of commuter cyclists using the road was fewer than on other cycle routes in the city.

"We know that people are avoiding that road like the plague and not using the on-road cycle lanes because it just feels too unsafe," he said.

More people would use the route if there was an off-road option.

In terms of linking Rocks Rd and the southern link, Allison said the decision on the arterial route should be made on evidence and it would be interesting to see what the new investigation would show.

A Nelson City Council spokeswoman said the meetings had raised valid points and met the project team's objectives, including "picking up potential improvements early in the process".

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- The Nelson Mail

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