Southern Link info sessions attract wide variety of views


Public information sessions for the Southern Link Investigation kicked off in Nelson last week, resulting in good turnouts but mixed views from local residents.

Nelson Weekly attended meetings at Stoke Hall on Friday and Elma Turner Library on Saturday, which both attracted over 40 people.

The drop-in style sessions allowed people to engage with representatives from NZTA, to gain a better understanding of the three proposed approaches to improve congestion and accessibility on Nelson’s arterial routes between the Annesbrook Drive and Haven Road roundabouts.

The three approaches are: to improve the existing road network, widening the existing arterial routes, or building a new route. Public feedback from the sessions will be used to help NZTA further develop the Programme Business Case for the project.

At the sessions, some locals said they were pleased to see the number of different approaches, with one young resident saying it would “take the heat out of it”.

“It’s good to see that it’s not the Southern Link or nothing,” he said.

Some were indecisive, and had come along to gather information and “get their heads around the options”.

Others came to the sessions to confirm their view that the Southern Link is the best option for Nelson.

Stuart Walker, who is a member of the Nelson Residents Association and is also running for council this year, voiced his opinion that Nelson needs the link.

“I sit in traffic and think, why is this happening? There has to be a better way,” he said.

Another Nelson resident who was involved with the construction of the original motorway confirmed he was “totally behind it” and the link is a “very practical situation”.

But, there were also those who came to say that Nelson simply doesn’t need a new road.

Peter Olorenshaw, from anti-Southern Link lobby group Nelsust, was at Friday’s session in Stoke and said that Nelson has “much bigger questions to look at”.

“Traffic volumes are not increasing, and even if the Southern Link is built, Rocks Rd is still going to be busy,” he said.

Malcolm Saunders, an ex-councillor from the 1970s said improvements to the existing arterial routes, such as an overbridge or underpass on Waimea Rd by Nelson College, should be looked at instead.

There is still one public information session left, this Saturday, April 9, at Richmond Library from 10am – 1pm.

You can also fill out an online feedback form and find out more about the project at Feedback is due by April 24.