Lifestyle harm worry over bus stop plan

A Queenstown woman says a proposal to locate a bus stop and shelter directly in front of her Lake Hayes Estate properties is “devastating”, making a submission the Queenstown Lakes District Council should just purchase them both “and take everything from us we have worked so hard for”.

Speaking to her submission on proposed transport shelter for the Wakatipu yesterday, Jo Stewart was emotional as she detailed the impact the two surprise Sylvan St bus stops would have on her, her partner, and her elderly mother-in-law who lived next-door.

Ms Stewart said she had been actively involved in the process through the Lake Hayes Estate and Shotover Country Community Association, including attending a meeting last May, at which they were assured two proposed bus stops on Sylvan St “would not be happening” and other options were being considered.

A feedback document, sent out last October, noted a pair of new bus stops on Erskine St, but did not reference Sylvan St, yet a revised proposal following that process included the two stops, one outside her home.

Ms Stewart said their section was bought in 2003 and building was completed in 2005.

They were to be her partner, David Bonham, and mother-in-law’s “forever homes”, allowing the pair to live side-by-side.

The council had since created a walking track along the rear of their section, which had become an “anything goes track”, used by motorbikes, vehicles, e-bikes and the like.

“We’ve had to move our bedroom to the other side of the house because the Cougar Security vehicle driving down the track each night and turning around … [shines] its lights directly into our lounge and bedroom.”

In 2020, they learnt of the proposed Sylvan St link, part of the Ladies Mile master plan, to help public transport accessibility and “resilience” for the wider area, required once the eastern side of Ladies Mile is developed.

She questioned the logic in spending up to $160,000 now to install two bus stops on Sylvan St, which would eventually “become redundant and have to be pulled out” for the new link road.

The proposed stops would result in the loss of on-street parking used by Mr Bonham’s mother and her visitors, who would need to park further down the street and walk.

“Every day in paradise here is not a bluebird day, and this needs to be taken into consideration for the elderly and for those with disabilities that are visiting us.”

It would also push congestion to other areas.

Further, their dogs were already displaying anxious and reactive behaviour caused by people cutting across their front lawn, which would only be exacerbated.

Their privacy would “totally vanish”, their rubbish collection would be affected, access to their mailboxes would disappear and noise pollution would increase, she said.

There would be health and safety risks, including loss of sight lines when reversing from their driveway.

She asked the hearings panel, while considering the location of the stops, if they would “want to live in our house?”

“Would this be your retirement dream?”

Panel member councillor Craig Ferguson said while some might believe Ms Stewart’s view to be “nimby-ism”, he understood that was not the case.

Ms Stewart said she did not wish it upon anyone down Sylvan St, let alone outside her front door.

“We’re not trying to pass the buck, or put a bus stop somewhere else — at the moment, there just isn’t the need for it.

“It’s just devastating.”

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