MP: Region owes dam, road to future generations


The Lee Valley Dam and the Southern Link motorway are two pieces of crucial infrastructure that Nelson “owes” to its future generations, the first meeting of the Nelson Residents Association heard on Sunday.

Nelson MP Nick Smith was the first guest speaker for the NRA, which is planning a series of meetings throughout the local body election year. He spoke to around 60 people who gathered at 623 in the City about challenges facing the region.

He said Nelson is the second fastest growing region in the country and spoke of how key infrastructure was needed for it to continue to grow. He likened the $70 million Lee Valley Dam and the controversial Southern Link motorway to the Cut made through the Boulder Bank in 1905, allowing ships to enter Port Nelson.

“We are huge benefactors of the infrastructure that has been built by previous generations. When our city forefathers put the Cut in the port, there was a rampant argument over the huge cost to the people of this city. Those brave forefathers of our city made exactly the right call and the port would not exist and this town would not be the buoyant, fantastic place that it is, if they had not made that call.

“We owe it, in the same way that they put their hands in their pockets to build infrastructure for us, we owe it to the next generation to build infrastructure so that our kids and their kids can have a prosperous future in our town,” he says.

The meeting was followed by the official opening of the NRA’s “election headquarters” above the City Centre Arcade.

Chairman of the NRA’s election strategy committee, Kevin Gardener, says the group is hoping for a “total clear out” at this year’s election, but they won’t put forward any candidates themselves.

“As far as we’re concerned the whole council needs to be changed. Some of the faux pas’ they have made – and they have made some doozeys. Trafalgar Centre, Stoke Community Centre…

“It’s a big wish and we do not want a ticket. We want people with business acumen and with a social conscience. There are so many good people out there and all it needs is shoulder tapping to create a spark.”

The eight office complex will be used by volunteers and by candidates they support.

Nelson City councillor Tim Skinner and council candidate Mel Courtney were also in attendance at the brunch meeting.