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Nelson City Council's Process

Process:

Nelson City Council investigated residential development in the Maitai Valley as part of its Nelson Urban Growth Strategy (2006) but concluded:

Do not provide for any future residential zoning in this area
and:
In response to submissions the Council has decided not to pursue residential rezoning in the Maitai Valleybecause “submissions on the Maitai were very strongly opposed to any residential zoning, based on loss of open space, conflicts with recreation values, and the effects of more traffic and noise”.

Despite this, Nelson City Council’s Future Development Strategy (July 2019) identified land for housing expansion into the Maitai Valley for up to 842 houses in the Maitai Valley: 614 in Kaka Valley and 228 in Orchard Flat. These figures were repeated in the council’s Intensification Action Plan (September 2020).

The Future Development Strategy (2019) of Nelson City Council and Tasman District Council identified the need for 24,000 additional houses in the region by 2048 under high-growth forecasts.  It found we already have land approved for 12,000 houses and identified land for an additional 14,249 houses.

The FDS therefore identifies the potential for 26,249 houses by 2048, which exceeds the forecast demand by 2249 houses.

What's Proposed?

Private developers, CCKV Maitai Dev Co LP & Bayview Nelson Limited have applied to rezone land located in the lower Maitai Valley, specifically Kaka Valley, along Botanical Hill and Malvern Hill, on land predominantly located in the Rural Zone.

The proposed subdivision of approximately 750 houses would go on land adjacent to the Maitai River behind Dennes swimming hole, and also adjoin the existing residential zone on the Malvern Hills. A through-road is planned linking Atawhai to the Maitai Valley via Ralphine Way opposite Sunday swimming hole. 

The subdivision would be clearly visible from the Maitai Cricket Ground, Maitai track, Maitai Valley Road, the Centre of NZ hilltop, and other walkways in the area, in the nearest section of the valley which is most commonly used for swimming, running, walking, and relaxation.

Impacts of housing expansion into the Maitai Valley

The proposed subdivision in the Maitai Valley is located in a prime recreation area and would negatively affect many people’s use and enjoyment of the valley and river in many ways:

Loss of rural amenity

The lower Maitai valley is full of walking trails and recreation reserves enjoyed by many. A new suburb in the Maitai Valley would no longer provide a peaceful escape from the urban environment

Visually polluting

Hundreds of houses in the Maitai Valley would degrade the widely recognised scenic value of the valley.

Increased traffic volumes

Maitai Valley Road and Nile Street as well as Collingwood, Brougham, Tasman, Milton and Bridge Street East would all become congested with much greater volumes of traffic (likely to be thousands of vehicles per day).

Air pollution

Increased traffic would worsen air quality in the Maitai Valley and in the area extending down Nile Street into central Nelson.

Noise Pollution

The noise from 750 houses (e.g., vehicles, lawnmowers, stereos, leafblowers, chainsaws, powertools) within the valley, on both sides of the river, would destroy the peaceful ambience of the valley and adversely affect recreational users.

Increased urban infrastructure

New traffic infrastructure is likely to include traffic lights, roading, and a bridge over the Maitai River. Water supply would require a new supply line and a pump/reservoir system. New wastewater infrastructure would be needed.

Threat to wildlife

Domestic cats and dogs belonging to households in the proposed development would pose a threat to indigenous bird species.

River Degradation

Kaka Tributary (a stream running through the area of the proposed development) is one of the more significant contributors of sediment and nutrients to the Maitai River, meaning that the development would pose a risk to the Maitai River.

Urban Sprawl

The lower Maitai would become another suburb of Nelson and the urban/rural divide would be pushed farther up the valley, swallowing up the main swimming holes, picnic spots, and walking/running tracks.

Unfortunately, this is wishful thinking and is unlikely to eventuate. Close to 70% of Nelsonians drive a car to work. Only 6% travel to work by bicycle, and 7.5% on foot. NZTA 2019 stats show that only 4% of kiwis identify as committed bicycle commuters. The proposed development is 3.5 km from central Nelson, and there is no evidence that people living in other suburbs located a similar distance from central Nelson (e.g., Bishopdale and Atawhai) have higher rates of walking or cycling. Thus, most residents of the proposed development are likely to travel by car.

How is the decision on zoning made?

The Council has been working on the project with the developers, who have lodged an official request to council for a change in land zoning from ‘rural’ to ‘residential’ (i.e., a Private Plan Change Request) that would allow the development to proceed.  Strong public interest and opposition to the development has led Council to provide a statement explaining the plan change process.

Council has stated that the application will proceed under Schedule 1 of the Resource Management Act which includes public notification. Once the application is formally notified any person may make a submission.
For all associated information please see the Nelson City Council website.

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