Resident asks: waddle they do to help ducks?

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 for everything.''

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 sufficient.

Despite the previous failed attempts to install signage, Ms Neilsen hoped her proposal would not end up another dead duck.

''Everyone I've spoken to really, really wants it to happen ... ducks are part of our community.''

-lucy.ibbotson@odt.co.nz