Protest march planned for pond

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Supporters of Tahunanui’s Modellers Pond are preparing a protest march before delivering a petition of signatures to Nelson City Council in a bid to ensure the pond doesn’t get filled in.

The Nelson Modellers Society has prepared a submission to the council and it will be accompanied by petition forms, signed by thousands of Nelsonians. Supporters of the pond say they want to send the strongest possible message to councillors and, with widespread support, they hope a protest march will do that.

The Modellers Pond, near Tahuna beach, has had severe algae problems since strong chemicals that were used to control it were banned by the council.

The council has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on investigations and attempted solutions to clean the pond, to no avail.

Tracy Gibbs of the Nelson Modeller’s Society says they would like to see the bottom of the pond sealed with concrete and controlled with regular cleaning.

“It’s a community asset, it’s an icon. We don’t want to lose it. Councillors need to look at the economics, but sometimes life is more than economics.”

She says whatever the council decides money will need to be spent, and she’d like to see that money go towards fixing the problem. “We already have two playgrounds at the beach. The pond is something different that can be utilised.”

Tracy says the other major issue for the council is the stormwater pipe from the Tahuna Hills that flows into the pond when water levels are high. “If they fill in the pond they’ll have to find somewhere else to put that pipe, and the reason they chose the pond in the first place is that it was the safest.”

Support to save the pond has been growing. Tracy says more than 1000 signatures have been collected at the pond alone and there are dozens more petition forms in businesses around Tahunanui, Nelson and Richmond. A Facebook page has also been set up and that has attracted 300 likes. She says a date for the march hasn’t been decided yet, but it will be before June 11 when their submission needs to be presented to council.