Plans to pave paradise and put up a trucking lot

Marlborough Sounds ward councillors have convinced the Marlborough District Council to put the proposed truck park out ...
RICKY WILSON/STUFF

Marlborough Sounds ward councillors have convinced the Marlborough District Council to put the proposed truck park out to public consultation.

Plans to pave paradise and put up a trucking lot in Picton have hit a speed bump as the proposal is put to the public.

The Marlborough District Council tried to cement its plans without consulting residents so it could make the deadline for post-quake funding.

But councillors for Picton and the Marlborough Sounds pumped the brakes at a council meeting last week, saying residents had plans for the green space.

The council wants to turn a section of Waitohi Domain, in Picton, into a truck stop, to get the trucks off nearby residential streets.

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The closure of State Highway 1 after the November earthquake meant more trucks were arriving in Picton out of sync with the departure times of ferries, so they were having to park up around the port town and wait.

Previously they could drive Christchurch to Picton without a break to reach the ferry, but now the trip took two shifts and a long wait.

The council estimated the park would cost about $300,000, and the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) alliance agreed to pay a third of that, as it was a post-quake roading issue, if work started by December 1. 

Marlborough Sounds councillor Nadine Taylor said she could not support the plan going ahead without putting the idea to the community.

"It's as much about the process as the fact that it's a green space," she said at the council meeting on Thursday.

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Under the proposal, nearly a quarter of the reserve on Dublin St, formerly the Waitohi Rugby Club pitch, would be tarsealed. Crafar Crouch was already leasing 19 per cent of the land, on the east side of Dublin St.

Picton woman Linda Thompson said the number of trucks that parked on Picton's streets, especially at night, was "a shambles".

"I think something absolutely needs to be done about the trucks in Picton because it's just a mess. They're so big they hang over the white line and crowd the street, and make it quite dangerous. You can't blame them, they've got nowhere else to go."

Assets and services committee chairman Terry Sloan said the community might consider it an opportunity wasted if they missed the December deadline.

"The intent was always to get a commercial return from it [the domain]," Sloan said.

But assets and services manager Richard Coningham confirmed on Tuesday NCTIR had given the council a new deadline of starting construction by January 31.

Marlborough Sounds ward councillor David Oddie​ said Picton residents had a lot of attachment to the land as a green space.

"The community has aspirations for that space - the Link pathway, a helicopter landing pad, a community garden - these are just some ideas people have mentioned to me. 

​"The question I have for the community is, is it all right to have a large green space in Picton industrialised and become a truck park? And if so, what mitigating processes should be put in place, such as plantings and so forth?"

A timeframe for the public consultation has to be decided.

 - The Marlborough Express

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