A key connector street in Rotorua could close to through-traffic, and some say it's a "completely absurd" proposal that will negatively affect nearby businesses.
Three options for Marguerita St opened for public consultation with Rotorua Lakes Council on June 29.
The first option was to maintain the status quo, while option two would introduce chicanes and street narrowing at one end.
Option three would see closing the road and installing back-to-back cul-de-sacs near White St.
In January residents from Arvida Glenbrae, a retirement village on the street, petitioned the council to address issues on the mixed residential and industrially-zoned street, which included high speeds and an increase in heavy traffic.
At the time, Glenbrae resident Molly Campbell said it had left some retirement village residents "extremely stressed" due to the shaking and noise from heavy vehicles.
Peter Baars owns Farm Source on Marguerita St as well as several other businesses in the area and on Monday launched a petition calling for maintenance of the status quo - option one.
He was "dismayed" the council had not notified commercial property owners in the area before announcing the options for public feedback.
"I only found out through chance. They never made any effort at all to approach commercial property owners, which is disconcerting."
However, a council spokesman said letters were hand delivered to those "most affected, being residents and businesses on Marguerita and White Sts" on June 29.
Baars said, in his view, options two and three could "force" vehicles on to alternative routes and add kilometres to prospective customers' journeys.
"It's not very green to be forcing vehicles to travel more than they need to."
Baars said any proposal that could negatively affect local business in the aftermath of Covid-19 was "completely absurd".
He was "always wary" when three options were presented because it meant the likely result would be the middle option - in this case, option two.
"The middle ground is not good enough.
"The business community has been there a lot longer [than residents]. [Residents] knew what the street was like when they moved in."
Baars said the feeling among the business owners he had spoken to was "very strong" and in favour of maintaining the status quo.
"They cannot believe the council has let it get that far. It has no merit and would be very detrimental to businesses."
Baars said he believed the situation on the street had been "exacerbated" by the nearby VTNZ no longer offering appointment booking for heavy vehicle testing, resulting in trucks lining up on the side of the road near the retirement village.
VTNZ operations manager Gavin McNaught said the Rotorua branch had offered a weekday no bookings required service for heavy vehicles for "many years now" and the process was not uncommon across the network.
"[It] is used to manage ongoing issues with customers booking heavy vehicle inspections and not turning up for their appointments. No-shows have a significant impact on the efficiency of a branch's inspection procedures and the ability for other customers to have their vehicles inspected."
He said bookings were available for heavy vehicles on Saturdays and there had been a spike in testing following alert level 4.
"We continue to work with the Rotorua Lakes Council and local authorities and apologise for any inconvenience caused to our customers and nearby residents and business owners."
Council infrastructure manager Stavros Michael said it was important to note no decisions had been made on the issue yet.
"Council staff will take the community's feedback and provide that, along with a report and recommendation to the council for their consideration.
"It is part of the council's role to assess the use and functionality of our local road network.
"The council has heard concerns from residents of Marguerita St for a number of years and, last year received a petition from a number of residents requesting that the council look at options to reduce the impact of vehicle movements through that corridor."
He said that process had led elected members to instruct council staff to engage with the community about "potential traffic management and safety improvement options".
Rotorua Rural Community Board representatives had also recommended that the rural sector be considered as key stakeholders, he said.
Letters were hand delivered to those "most affected, being residents and businesses on Marguerita and White Sts" on June 29, he said.
The council had also held a drop-in session on Tuesday night at the racecourse.
"We heard many views, from the commercial operators in particular."
Rotorua Rural Community Board chairwoman Shirley Trumper said the rural community had not been considered a stakeholder in preparing options for Marguerita St.
"There is big industry on this road for the rural community."
She said chicanes were "no good" because horse floats, utes and trailers needed to use the street.
"I just think of the farming sector that uses Marguerita St."
She said the cul-de-sac idea was a "non-starter" and she didn't think the council had realised the potential impact on the local economy.
"We need a workable solution. This has been an industrial area for a very long time.
"I can empathise with [nearby residents] but my role as Rural Community Board chair is to speak for rural residents."
She urged people to provide feedback to the council on the issue - "good, bad or indifferent".
On Tuesday, Glenbrae resident Graham Winters said speed and the volume of heavy vehicles was still an issue for the retirement home residents.
"We're just waiting now, and we're hopeful that a decision will be made sooner rather than later."
His personal preference was for cul-de-sacs because he was concerned some drivers would see chicanes as a "challenge" to navigate at speed, and trucks may "just drive over them".
"It's going to inconvenience some people, it's even going to inconvenience me as I like to go to the Redwoods. But I'm more than happy to go the other way."
Farmlands Co-operative operations manager Mal Scrymgeour said the company was supportive of any option that balanced "safety with making it easy for our shareholders to do business with us".
Design Upholstery owner Mike Sperry had operated out of White St for about 30 years.
He didn't understand why the council was considering any changes and didn't think they were necessary.
He had "no problems" with the introduction of chicanes but in his time in the area had seen very few people "hooning" down Marguerita St.
The introduction of cul-de-sacs would be less convenient for his customers, he said.
The feedback period will finish on July 31 and can be accessed online at letstalk.rotorualakescouncil.nz.
MARGUERITA ST OPTIONS
OPTION 1: Status quo – keep the road as it is. The council would continue to monitor and enforce parking issues.
OPTION 2: Installing traffic management features to reduce traffic speed, volume of traffic and vehicle movements, eg, chicanes or narrowing the road at the residential end of Marguerita St.
OPTION 3: Remove the ability to travel through Marguerita St. This would mean closing the road by installing back-to-back cul-de-sacs at a midway point (approximately the location of Vetora).
Source: Rotorua Lakes Council