Call to sort marae access problems

    Concerned about the dangers present at the entrance to the Murihiku marae are (from left) Waihopai Runaka chairman Cyril Gilroy, Healthy Families Invercargill lead systems innovator Stella O’Connor and Healthy Families Invercargill manager Jared Cappie.

    WAIHOPAI Runaka is asking the Invercargill City Council (ICC) to sort out important traffic
    issues at the entrance of the Murihiku marae to improve safety for its whanau.

    Healthy Families Invercargill and Waihopai Runaka representatives told councillors during
    the ICC’s speed review hearing the council should create a pathway and move a 70kmh sign near the entrance of the marae in Tramway Rd.

    Healthy Families Invercargill lead systems innovator Stella O’Connor said the organisation
    had been working with runaka members to understand the needs and challenges related to accessing the marae after a $9 million boost from the Government last year to help with redevelopment of the marae.

    The upgrade will include a community facility, social housing, community medical hub and cultural space.

    Mrs O’Connor said two main issues were identified.

    One was the lack of a pathway at the marae’s entrance and the other was the speed limit in the area being 70kmh.

    The group asked the council to change the speed limit near the entrance to 50kmh to make it safer for people entering or leaving the marae.

    ‘‘Cars often accelerate and speed in front of the marae.’’

    A lack of footpaths in the area worsened the problem.

    ‘‘There is no shared path for walkers, scooters, cyclists, mobile scooters and mums with prams into the main entrance.

    ‘‘This creates inequitable, unsafe access and doesn’t align with tikanga [correct practice] for entering a marae,’’ Mrs O’Connor said.

    Waihopai Runaka chairman Cyril Gilroy agreed.

    Lots of school groups, along with other people, visited the marae as it was working to become a cultural hub, and that number would just increase, he said.

    A new housing development — Te Puawai — at the marae would also draw more traffic to the area.

    ‘‘When they put the marae here no-one actually thought about the volume of people who were going to come to our marae.

    ‘‘Those changes are about future-proofing the marae… and making it safer for everybody.’’

    ICC manager strategy and policy Rhiannon Suter said councillors would consider all the submissions from the speed review on April 5 and work with the unaka to understand its concerns.