The ratepayers of Stoke and Tahunanui will continue to get my attention and a fair share of the rating dollar. But there is much more to do. Efforts to regenerate the town centres of these communities must be re-doubled if we are to retain them as liveable, active and integrated communities with unique heritages, residential groupings, features and characteristics.
Tahunanui – the suburb that shares one of the world’s safest and most family friendly beaches that is enjoyed year-round by locals and visitors, is a great place to live.
Over the last 3 years I’ve worked to establish strong and positive relationships with Natureland and Tahuna Beach Holiday Park, which has seen both enterprises able to develop and thrive.
Investment has also been made in the Tahunanui Community Centre and Burrell Park with expanded and greatly improved premises and the Tahunanui Drive pedestrian refuge was installed further down from the traffic lights to ensure safer crossing near the medical centre.
In terms of flood remediation and future-proofing, I am very pleased that we have been able to finally get the Day’s Track reinstatement underway and that Council has been able to commit significant additional funds toward reducing stormwater risks and improving the overall sewerage infrastructure.
But there is much more to do. These involve:
- Progressing the Village Plan to encourage private enterprise and investment into Tahunanui that will support the heart and people of this vital area.
- Implementing better cycling links for both commuting and recreation – especially linking Tahunanui to the Great Taste Trail.
- Delivering a combined Sports Club House for the Tahunanui Playing Fields. These busy fields have limited facilities and it’s time for a better solution.
In addition to directing actual community development, I believe a key factor to attracting much-needed suburban investment lies in making the tough decisions around delivering a safe and workable roading network the people of Nelson deserve.
Stoke is Nelson’s fastest growing suburb and that growth isn’t slowing down. Three quarters of Nelson’s total population growth is expected to occur in this suburb over the next 30 years.
To keep up with this inevitable growth, current community facilities will need to expand and a well-functioning commercial heart must be in place if Stoke is to remain a great place for people to live. Given the millions of dollars of Reserves Contributions, Development Contributions and rates that have been paid into the council coffers by Stoke residents over the years, I am determined to work with the community to see this returned through targeted investment in key community facilities and essential infrastructure.
Improving our arterial roading network and connections to the CBD and state highway network are also very important considerations for the Stoke Community. If we don’t plan ahead for growth, Main Road Stoke will again face the congestion and intersection problems currently experienced along Waimea Road.
Spotlight on Stoke has been a key project over the last three years. Feedback from the Stoke community is being used to shape and plan a range of projects and has given Council clear direction on what is important. This includes: development of the Greenmeadows Community Centre; cycle and walk way links; opportunities for making more of heritage properties such as Isel House and Broadgreen; better care of Stoke’s many streams, a Stoke bus loop, youth facilities, taking the next steps for improving the Stoke Memorial Hall, improving traffic movement around the commercial centre, and redevelopment of the very, very busy Stoke Library.
Good progress has been made already and I will continue to work with private enterprise, schools and community groups in order to aggregate resources in a responsible and cost effective manner to ensure we get things right for the residents of Stoke, both current and future.
ROADS AND WATERFRONT
Every city needs a secure roading network that can be relied upon to work well on a daily basis and remain navigable in times of emergency. If Nelson is to realise its true potential as a liveable 21st century city and essential hub for the regional economy, then we need to move closer to making the tough decisions around how best to move freight and people in the future, and how best to ensure we are prepared should serious weather or earthquake events occur.
There is no doubt that Nelson’s arterial network – including Waimea Road and Rocks Road – is showing signs of stress. Waimea Road is carrying traffic volumes well in excess of its design capacity and access from side roads is failing to meet reasonable standards. Travel time delays are being experienced and passage for emergency vehicles must always be maintained. Similar issues are occurring on Rocks Road, with spillover of traffic occurring on secondary roads causing disruption to residential areas and the average person’s enjoyment of Waterfront walking, cycling, or rod fishing, being seriously impaired.
As shown by other cities of Nelson’s size, a well thought out transport network across the city supports all forms of transport be that public, private or freight transport or more active transport like cycling, running or walking. To achieve an outcome that is fitting of a family, visitor and business-friendly regions such as ours, we simply must address the failings of our current arterial roading network.
I believe that planning around roading must look to maximise opportunities that exist for increasing the accessibility and enjoyment of our waterfront. Currently the recreational, cultural, heritage, environmental and economic potential that exists between Haven Road and Tahunanui cannot be realised while we have a tightly constrained roading corridor carrying the current volume of traffic. This route should be part of the cycling experience of the Great Taste Trail and the economic and physical benefits this would afford but this cannot be achieved until we have a safer connection. As a community we need to show greater respect to this precious coastline and all those who wish to use it.
Like many others, I firmly believe that Nelson needs to progress the Southern Arterial Link and set realistic and achievable goals that will allow all Nelsonians to easily, frequently and happily make the most of everything our spectacular waterfront can offer.
Creating a secure arterial roading network is about investing wisely in the future of our city and region.