Friends of the Maitai (FOM) is very concerned that the Nelson City Council is pushing through infrastructure for a major housing development in the Maitai Valley without public consultation.
It emerged at Wednesday’s Annual Plan hearing that Council has applied for $25 million from Government’s post Covid ‘shovel ready’ fund to upgrade infrastructure near a proposed 700 house development, to be accessed from both Bayview Road in Atawhai and Ralphine Way in the Maitai Valley.
After Cr Matt Lawrey raised the issue in the hearing, the Nelson Mail reported if the funding is granted, the work will most likely be fast-tracked and start before the end of this year. The infrastructure upgrade includes wastewater and water supply upgrades, cycle and walkways, and development of waterways and the riverbank.
Friends of the Maitai spokesperson Jacquetta Bell said coming post-Covid when a green reset was being suggested by national and international leaders, this move from Council is very disappointing.
“The Council Chief Executive is quoted as saying the development will allow people to bike and walk to the city. If that means affordable eco-housing we would be thrilled, but we fear every house will have the usual two-car garage, with a traffic impact that will fundamentally change the nature of the Maitai Valley.”
FOM had previously commented in its own Annual Plan submission on the importance of the Maitai as a recreational area, noting this was more evident than ever during the lockdown when it was heavily used by families for their daily walks.
“As soon as you enter the valley with its green fields and established trees you have left the noise and bustle of the city behind – this is going to change with cars from up to 800 houses,” Bell said. “We know housing is important, but we believe the people of Nelson would want to preserve the Maitai Valley, and look at other options such as intensifying housing in the inner city – as the Council recommends in its own Future Development Strategy.”
FOM asked Council for information on the Bayview development two weeks ago and were referred to the developer’s resource consent consultant.
“He has offered to meet with us in a week or so, and we are aware the development will need to go through the consent process, but this doesn’t alter that Council has ‘jumped the gun’ in pre-judging this process with plans to put the infrastructure in place,” Bell said. “You also have to ask is this project actually ‘shovel ready’ if the consents are not in place?”
As well as the ultimate impact of up to new houses, FOM is concerned about the impact on the river from sediment during construction of such major infrastructure so close by, and from the construction phase of the development. FOM is calling on the Council and the developers to make the plans for the development readily available for public viewing, and to immediately begin a public consultation process.
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