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Save the Maitai council presentation knocked back due to Covid

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Save the Maitai campaigners will still take their ‘Keep it Rural’ message to councillors, in spite of being knocked back by Covid rules from attending the full council meeting next Tuesday (Sept 22).

The group has collected over 8000 signatories to the petition against rezoning the Kaka Valley area in the Maitai Valley for housing, and were booked to speak at the public forum on Tuesday.

They were told today (Thursday) this would now not be allowed, even though gatherings of 100 people can occur in Covid alert level 2.

"They won’t even allow our two speakers into the Chamber, which you have to say seems a very rigorous interpretation of the rules," said Save the Maitai spokesperson Peter Taylor. "We’ve decided to go ahead and gather outside Civic House prior to the council meeting and we’re inviting councillors to meet us, and hear our point of view on their way in."

Save the Maitai now has a speaking slot at the full Council meeting on November 12 when they will present their petition to Council. Taylor said the group was heartened at the extraordinary public support to keep the Maitai free of large-scale subdivisions.

"It’s very clear that the majority of Nelsonians treasure the Maitai-Kaka 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."

Taylor said the level of public support indicated that had 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.

"A development of 500 - 700 new houses in the Maitai-Kaka Valley will inevitably cause air, noise, light and water pollution, especially stormwater runoff into the adjacent Dennes hole, a favourite used by thousands of swimmers each summer," he said. "We don’t want to see Nelson’s beautiful river valley wrecked - it’s unique as the city’s main fresh-water swimming destination and our closest rural recreational destination."

Taylor said Nelsonians have not opposed large subdivisions in Atawhai and northern valleys, Marsden Valley, Ngawhatu Valley, nor the Brook, but they have long seen the Maitai as a sacred and spacious area that should be left as it is.

Subdivisions planned for Belview-Atawhai, Toi Toi, and Whakatu in addition to extensive subdivision in Richmond as well as the stated plans for intensification in the city would provide for many years growth he said.

"We’re simply asking Council to keep this unique and special space - our most popular recreational valley - free from urbanisation, for the people of Nelson, like any smart little city would."

Members of the public are invited to join in support outside Civic House on Tuesday September 22 at 8.30am.

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