Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Offical opening of Golden Bay shared pathway bridge

Christine Pullar shared pathway Bridge Motupipi

The new Christine Pullar Bridge

Well over 50 people attended the offical opening ceremony for the Christine Pullar shared pathway bridge over the Motupipi River near Takaka in Golden Bay, on a bright sunny day, last Tuesday afternoon the 8 November 2022.

The official opening ceremony included a Karakia and blessing by Manawhenua ki Mohua the local iwi, representatives and Chairperson Axel Downard-Wilke of the Golden Bay Cycle and Walkways Society, children from Motupipi School and representatives from Tasman District Council, members of the public, cyclists and walkers. 

The bridge is named after the late Christine Pullar, who was a strong advocate for cycling and walking facilities in Golden Bay. A wooden plaque with her name on it was unveiled during the opening ceremony.

Christine Pullar was a driving force for cycling and walking facilities in Golden Bay.

photo supplied

During the ceremony, the new bridge and its plaque were both blessed, with people invited to touch the plaque as they walked past.

Christine was one of those people – along with some others – that were at the heart of generating shared pathways and she really contributed to the Golden Bay community, but sadly passed away in late April this year.

Pullar had fought hard for the bridge to be built, and had spearheaded the campaign for its funding and the naming of the bridge was dedicated to Pullar’s memory.

The plaque that was unveiled and blessed by local iwi during the opening ceremony 

A plaque memorialising nine-year-old Robin Snelling was also unveiled during the ceremony. Robin died in September 1992 when he was hit by a car on the Motupipi bridge. 

A plaque in memory of Robin Joseph Snelling aged 9 was also blessed during the opening ceremony

Robin had been watching whitebait fishermen at work in the Motupipi river after school when he was hit by a car while crossing the road. Members of Robin’s family were also in attendance.

The blessing of Robin Joseph Snellings plaque attached to the bridge in the background his mother Helen Rhodes and her son Isaac Snelling.

The route between Tākaka and Pōhara is now a whole lot safer and more pleasant to use for cyclists and pedestrians following the opening of the new Christine Pullar bridge over the Motupipi River, just in time for summer.

The children from Motupipi School took part in the ceremony singing songs and one of them was in memory of former pupil Robin Snelling

The bridge was recommended by The Golden Bay Cycle and Walkways Society to the Golden Bay Community Board who took the project on board and recommended it to Council.

Tasman District Council paid for contractors to build the prefabricated structure mounted on piles on the seaward side of the existing road bridge, near the intersection of Abel Tasman Drive and Burnside Road. Apparently, the houses in Burnside road were shacking when the piles were rammed into the river bed.

The cutting of the ribbon opening the bridge

Cyclists and pedestrians on the popular Tākaka to Pōhara shared path have up to now  shared the narrow Motupipi Road bridge with other traffic, which was a real safety concern for all users.

The project had a price tag of just under $400,000.  It was started in August and finished in late October, just in time for the summer visitor season.

“One of the things in Golden Bay is that there is a community spirit second to none and things like this new bridge happen” said Golden Bay Community Board Member Grant Knowles. 

Grant Knowles Golden Bay Community Board Member

“The shared pathway strategy of the Golden Bay Cycle and Walkways Society became a strong group that made things happen and this is only the beginning from Pōhara to Tākaka. I believe it’s only the start and will be up to Collingwood - soon!”  

“I believe they want to take the shared pathway from the Able Tasman National Park to the Heaphy Track in the Kahurangi National Park, so including Tata Beach at one end and eventually onto the Heaphy Track at the other end. I think the Community Board will have a role to play in that, as this is the role of the Community Board.”

“This (The Motupipi Bridge) was the achilles heel of the whole shared pathway strategy, but now with the Christine Pullar Bridge  it is completed and open to the public” said Grant Knowles.

Golden Bay Cycle and Walkways Society chairperson Axel Downard-Wilke said the ceremony was “awesome” and had a high turn out of Golden Bay residents. 

Golden Bay Cycle and Walkways Society chairperson Axel Downard-Wilke

He said “sometimes it was a real struggle forming the shared pathway with a lack of spare land on the roadside, but it was heartwarming to see such community sprit in Golden Bay with landowners coming onboard and giving a strip of land for the shared pathway so the cyclists and pedestrians didn’t have to cross a road.”

“The community is so great that the Society hasn’t yet publicly approached the community about extending the shared pathway to Collingwood, but landowners have proactively approached the Society and about 4km of private land has already been offered for the shared pathway to be extended to Collingwood.”  

I went over to Tākaka from Richmond last week to report on the opening of the Christine Pullar shared pathway bridge and indeed one come away feeling the passion of the Golden Bay community.

Pigeon Post News

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