Papamoa walkway fears to be looked at

By John Cousins

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Tauranga City Council has agreed to take a fresh look at the route of a walkway in Papamoa that residents feared would become a corridor of crime.

Work was halted on the gravel walkway after dozens of people signed a petition opposing the path where it ran close to the boundaries of properties backing on to the Wairakei Stream Reserve, between Hartford Ave and Palm Beach Boulevard.

Petition organisers succeeded in persuading yesterday's council meeting to look at building the walkway and cycleway along the other side of the drainage reserve.

Mount Maunganui councillor David Stewart said the alternative alignment was worthy of investigation but residents should not dictate where there was a wider community perspective. "If someone thinks it can be tweaked here and there, let's do it."

The walkway was a section of what would eventually become an off-road path stretching the length of Papamoa and linking into a network that started in Bethlehem.

Cr Larry Baldock wanted a compromise that met the feelings of most residents. He was surprised at the size of the pre-Easter response from residents when the council canvassed the neighbourhood after it received the petition.

Eighty people (37 per cent) supported stopping construction while 138 (63 per cent) wanted work to continue on the alignment. The council sent 780 letters to all properties within 700m of the path.

Council transportation planner Philip King said a 3m-wide path was the design ideal and consistent with the width needed to carry large numbers in a tsunami emergency.

Cr Rick Curach supported putting the path along the other side of the stream, saying it was more pleasant with trees and connected up with the school and an existing path that ran north from Hartford Ave.

The review will also look at installing bollards and signs so motorists could not use the path, and narrowing it to 2.5m.

The council was assured the walkway would not flood if it was placed closer to the stream.

Mayor Stuart Crosby said the council always had issues where walkways went too close to properties.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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