Traffic along Rocks Rd increased four per cent in the week after the Kaikoura earthquake, says deputy mayor Paul Matheson.

Councillors support Southern Link letter

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Mayor Rachel Reese will write a letter to New Zealand Transport Agency indicating Nelson City Council’s support of its investigation into the Southern Link road, as exclusively reported by Nelson Weekly on Tuesday.

Nelson City councillors voted on the issue today with nine councilors supporting the move and three against it.

The three dissenting votes were from councillors Matt Lawrey, Luke Acland and Brian McGurk.

Kate Fulton and Acland questioned whether it was poor timing to send a letter to NZTA advocating for Nelson’s needs while it is dealing with the earthquake-devastated Kaikoura roading network.

Lawrey and Acland also pushed Reese on whether the letter could be seen as the council providing feedback to NZTA on its ongoing investigation when the previous council had legal advice saying it couldn’t.

“It was made abundantly clear in the last term that this council could not give feedback without public consultation. How have things changed?” Lawrey asked the mayor.

Reese says the letter is an endorsement of the completion of the project, not for a preferred option. “If you do not support this project, you probably won’t vote for it [the motion to send the letter].”

Speaking in support of the letter earlier in the debate, deputy mayor Paul Matheson said data from traffic heading along Rocks Rd in the week before and after the Kaikoura earthquake showed a four per cent increase. “Our roads are being hammered at the moment, we need to get this investigation completed as soon as possible.”