Mon, Jun 10, 2024 6:00 AM

Debate over removal of century-old ‘tin shed’


Elise Vollweiler

The removal of a century-old landmark from Tasman’s Marriages Rd has caused a furore within the community.

However, the group who removed the distinctive bus shelter say that it was an imperative from the Tasman Cycle Trails Trust, and that the tin-roofed shed may yet be repaired and re-established in a location that can still be accessed by the public.

The ‘tin shed’ has stood at the corner of Aporo and Marriages Rd for about 100 years and was a distinctive landmark for those searching for the intersection. It was not currently in use as a bus stop.

Last year, centrally funded New Zealand Cycle Trails (NZCT) performed an audit of its existing trails, known as the Great Rides. They identified the Marriages Rd section as high-risk for several reasons, including the fact that the shelter creates a blind corner.

Tasman District Council owns the Great Taste Trail, which encompasses this section, and the council in turn contracts the Nelson Tasman Cycle Trails Trust (NTCTT) to maintain the track and ensure that it complies with the New Zealand cycle trail guidelines, which was established in 2019.

NTCTT trail manager Belinda Crisp says the organisation consulted with the TDC, the local bus company, the local schools and the Tasman Area Community Association (TACA), to discuss options for the bus shelter, including relocating it closer to the fence at the existing site.

Due to the state of the bus shelter, the fibre cables that prevented it being relocated back against the fence, and the fact that the bus cannot currently stop at the location, it was agreed that TACA would remove the shed and relocate another bus shelter approximately 100m further along Aporo Rd.

The Guardian was contacted by two distraught Tasman locals who expressed their concern over the removal of the iconic ‘tin shed’.

Tasman resident Kath O’Regan says that the shelter was taken in an “underhand” and abrupt manner, without sufficient consultation.

“It is woven into the landscape of our area,” she says. “Many people have commented regarding its sudden disappearance.”

TACA chairperson Hamish Rush says that the issue had been discussed at length within the community association, and that Tasman residents can – and are encouraged to – join the group.

However, Kath questions the group’s attitude, saying that in this case the members appear to be making decisions without wider consultation with the community.

“They appear to have just gone ahead, made a decision, and are then unhappy with people questioning them on it.”

Hamish, an orchardist, was born and raised in Tasman.

He says the shelter is a fixture for him too, and he is also very attached to it. However, he describes it as being in poor condition, with extensive rot and the roof disconnected from the main structure.

He removed it from the site as a result of the consultation process and “with the mindset that I would like to see it preserved and enjoyed by the community, but it had to be saved first, because the cycleway trust was just going to crush it up and put it in the tip”.

“I didn’t want to see it lost from the community,” he says.

Kath believes that the shelter could have been repaired on site, without being removed, and questions where it will be placed in the community in the future.

However, Belinda says that the shelter was “super rotten,” with the roof barely attached.

She says the low eaves were a hazard to cyclists, and the existing trail went close to a ditch around the back of the shelter.

Belinda says that people were instead biking out onto the road in front of the shelter – a statement that Kath disputes, saying “there was no trouble cycling behind it and in fact everyone we ever saw using the trail always cycled behind it, without exception”.

Belinda says there are an increasing number of people using the cycle trails, with a greater diversity of skill levels.

There have been no reported incidents, “but it’s only a matter of time,” she says.

“I understand the emotional loss… but we have to be practical and comply with the New Zealand Cycle Trail standards.”

She says that the group went through “quite a lot of investigation” about moving the shelter to a new location further along Aporo Rd, but ultimately, another unused structure nearby was deemed to be a more sensible fit and will be moved to the site, as it is newer and structurally sound, and it will also fit the physical footprint better.

There is hope that regional buses will then be able to service the bus stop.

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