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The Save the Maitai campaigners have had to postpone their address to the Nelson City Council this week due to Covid 19 restrictions.
About 100 people were to attend Council’s Thursday meeting to support their representatives due to advise the Council that 7000 people have signed a petition opposing the proposed development of a subdivision in the Kaka-Maitai Valley.
In just 5 weeks the group had received extraordinary public support for its campaign to keep the Maitai free of large-scale subdivisions.
Campaign spokesperson Tony Haddon said he was confident the campaign petition would reach 10,000 signatures soon.
“It’s clear from our community consultation that the majority of Nelsonians treasure the Kaka-Maitai Valley as a peaceful area where generations of people have swum in the river, picnicked, played with their children, cycled, walked their dogs and enjoyed many other activities, free from city traffic and noise, and it’s unique in being Nelson’s main fresh-water swimming destination,” he said.
Mr Haddon said the group had analysed the public submissions made for the 2004 Nelson Urban Growth Strategy and of the 1,422 submissions received, 1,294 (91%) did not support housing stock in the Maitai.
“Our petition indicates that had the Council consulted the community more transparently about providing residential housing in the Maitai when it developed the 2019 Future Development Strategy, they would have received similar resounding opposition.”
The Save the Maitai campaigners are calling on the Council to not accept any proposal they receive requesting the rezoning of land in the Maitai from the current rural to residential zoning which would permit large scale subdivisions.
Mr Haddon said, “Developing 500-600 new houses in the Maitai, Kaka Valley would inevitably cause air, water and noise pollution, especially stormwater runoff into the adjacent Dennes Swimming Hole, a favourite, used by thousands of people each year.
An increase of about 2000 car trips per day along Nile Street and adjacent streets will erode the ambience and environment of Nelson's most popular recreational destination, and potentially create more traffic bottlenecks on already busy roads.”
“Subdivisions planned for Belview-Atawhai, Toi Toi, Saxton and Whakatu in addition to extensive subdivision in Richmond would provide for many years of growth,” he said.
“Nelsonians have already given Atawhai and northern valleys, Marsden and Ngawhatu Valley and the Brook to housing.
We’re simply asking Council to do all they can to keep this special space – one of our most popular recreational valleys, spacious and intact rurally, for the people of Nelson, like any smart little city would”.
The chance of Covid-19 reaching Nelson are "extremely unlikely" an infectious diseases specialists says, but he still urges people with flu-like symptoms to get tested.