Beth Beauchamp and Ali Howard were among the dozens of protesters who campaigned outside Civic House on Tuesday. Photo: Charles Anderson.

Maitai campaigners head to council

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Campaigners who want to keep the Maitai Valley rural have taken their message to Nelson city councillors.

The group gathered at council buildings yesterday to protest a proposed change in land use which could see hundreds of homes built on former farmland in the Maitai Valley.

It has collected over 8000 signatories to the petition against rezoning the Kaka Valley, which up until a year ago was covered mostly in gorse, wild goats and grazing stock. The 800-acre area is private land, 315 acres of which developers want to turn into space for housing, starting at around $550,000 for a house and land package, as well as creating a wetland area, cycle tracks and regeneration of native bush.

Any development needs to go through three stages before being approved for construction: firstly, a zoning change from rural to residential and open space, then resource consent approval and finally construction.

However, the group called ‘Save the Maitai’ say that the development would ruin the valley.

“It’s very clear that the majority of Nelsonians treasure the Maitai-Kaka valley as a peaceful area where generations of people have swum in the river, picnicked, played with their children, cycled, walked their dogs and enjoyed many other activities, free from city traffic and noise,” says spokesperson Peter Taylor.

He says Nelsonians have not opposed large subdivisions in Atawhai and northern valleys, Marsden Valley, Ngawhatu Valley, nor the Brook, but they have long seen the Maitai as a “sacred and spacious” area that should be left as it is.