Karen Neilsen, of Wanaka, is in a flap over traffic-related
duck deaths on Wanaka's lakefront and is calling for ''ducks
crossing'' signs reminding motorists to slow down.
Ms Neilsen has long been concerned for the safety of Wanaka's
duck population, which regularly waddles across busy Ardmore
St between the lake and Pembroke Park, or the hospitality
precinct. Feathery fatalities, the result of being struck by
vehicles, are not uncommon.
After watching one of a pair of ducks get run over last
summer, Ms Neilsen was spurred into action.
''It just broke my heart because the other duck, the mate,
was just beside itself.''
She approached new Queenstown Lakes district councillor Calum
MacLeod, who told the Otago Daily Times he planned to
raise the duck debate at next week's Wanaka Community Board
meeting, despite being unsure where he personally stood on
the matter yet.
''I always stop for ducks crossing the road and sometimes you
get strange looks from people, but it is something that
happens reasonably regularly ... that's as much as an opinion
as I've got, really,'' he said.
QLDC senior communications adviser Michele Poole said the
signage suggestion had been raised before, but the community
board had not been keen on a ''proliferation of signs'', as
the ducks did not all cross in one place.
Deputy mayor Lyal Cocks confirmed the idea had already been
rejected by the board.
''It's come up several times ... when it was discussed last
time it didn't seem practical and if people drive carefully
you don't usually run into animals ... we don't put signs up
However, Ms Neilsen said Wanaka's many visiting motorists
were generally unaware of the road-crossing ducks, ''so they
fire through [Ardmore St] and the ducks get killed''.
Signs did not need to be ''plastered on every lamppost''. One
at each end of the lakefront stretch of Ardmore St would be
Despite the previous failed attempts to install signage, Ms
Neilsen hoped her proposal would not end up another dead
''Everyone I've spoken to really, really wants it to happen
... ducks are part of our community.''