When Joy Shackleton thinks of her long-time home of Tahunanui, the lyrics of Joni Mitchell’s song ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ come to mind.
“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”
The mother of four boys is on a mission to put a stop to the construction work that has already started on the Beach Rd section of the Great Taste Trail extension, next to the playing fields.
Joy also wants Nelson City Council to rethink plans for the second stage of the Tahunanui Pathways Project, which will see the stage one route between Annesbrook Roundabout and Parkers Rd progress further down Parkers Rd, Muritai St and Waikare St with a two-way separated cycleway.
Joy presented a 150-signature petition against both projects to last Thursday’s full council meeting.
She’s always lived in Tahunanui and even lives in the same house she grew up in. So, when she saw the fencing go up and the digger move into Beach Rd a few weeks ago, she thought “what on earth is that about?”
“In my lifetime, Tahunanui has relatively quickly gone from a semi-rural community to a ram-shackled neighborhood. It looks to be suffering a personality disorder because it’s been a bit used and abused over the past 40 years,” she says.
She says residents haven’t been consulted properly on the work and both cycleways are “unnecessary” and only built for the purpose of moving people through the suburb.
“They are not for Tahunanui, but in spite of Tahunanui. We already have some great cycleways on some nice wide streets. What Tahunanui doesn’t need is a poke-in-your-eye sort of cycleway carved through like another varicose vein.
“We’ve also got people down there digging up in the Ocean Lodge complex for a five-storey building. It’s turning into a concrete jungle. Personally, I don’t want Tahunanui to be Surfers Paradise.”
Alec Louverdis, group manager infrastructure at council, says engagement for the Beach Rd project was undertaken by the Nelson Tasman Cycle Trails Trust.
“The directly affected residents spoken to were either supportive or ambivalent, and the major users of the sports fields were supportive of the project.”
However, in regard to the Tahunanui Pathways Project, he says the majority of people who have discussed this matter with council have been supportive and “comprehensive engagement” was undertaken.
“This includes the Tahnunanui School, Tahunanui Business Association, the Tahunanui Community Centre, other interested parties and many residents.”
He says Joy’s concerns have been taken on board.
“We will contact those that signed the broader petition to make sure we understand their concerns and to alleviate those concerns where possible.”
Joy says she has no idea whether her petition is going to change anything.
“But now I can sleep again at night knowing I did my best to try and give Tahunanui residents a voice.”