Resident questions need for cycleway

Stoke resident Jane Wickham is puzzled by the sudden appearance of what is shaping up to be a paved track out the back of her property, along what was once a perfectly good grass walkway on city council reserve.

"I don't know what it is. We've had no notification, but we can assume that because of the boxing, the path is going to be concrete.

"It's complete overkill."

Ms Wickham said neither she nor five other homeowners in the Stoke cul-de-sac which backs on to the Orchard Stream Reserve were told of the construction of what is a 2-metre wide strip extending about 300m past their properties, from Marlowe St to the The Railway Reserve.

The first they knew was the removal of large trees.

"This has in the past been a pleasant stream-side walk enjoyed by many," Ms Wickham said.

Nelson City Council parks team leader Lindsay Barber said the council was building a path that was requested by members of the local community, and which would provide an important connection from Marlowe St to the Railway Reserve in an area that usually became boggy over the winter months.

"Providing good access for walkers and cyclists is the main purpose of this reserve," Mr Barber said.

Ms Wickham was also concerned at the trees lost to make way for the new path, but Mr Barber said only one dead wattle tree was removed, along with overhanging branches along the reserve to allow for better access.

Ms Wickham said she was a keen cyclist who used many of the city cycleways, and was not opposed to them being built, but questioned why this latest one was needed when paved access to the reserve currently existed via other entry points.

"The ambience of the area is ruined and it must have cost a huge amount of money.

"It defies logic, is a waste of money and has wrecked the park," said Ms Wickham, who has lived in the area for four years.

She said a neighbour doing such large-scale work would be courteous enough to let others know, and she wondered why the council had not done the same.

Mr Barber said because it was a relatively minor project taking place on council land in an area with existing pedestrian use, consultation with neighbours was not required as the work did not directly affect any of their properties.

Ms Wickham said construction of the pathway would have the effect of a "motorway" for those residents stepping on to it from their backyards, as they frequently did.

The Napier Mail