Wanaka woman Karen Neilsen with one of the resort's new
lakefront ''ducks crossing'' signs for which she has
campaigned. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
Ducks dodging traffic on their daily commute between
Wanaka's lakefront and Pembroke Park have a new friend in
animal-lover Karen Neilsen, whose one-woman crusade for ''ducks
crossing'' signs has produced results.
Mrs Neilsen was ''so thrilled'' when she saw the new signs in
place at either end of the park on Ardmore St at the weekend,
having lobbied local councillors and the Wanaka Community
Board for several months for their installation.
''I feel really proud ... I've actually driven past about
four times today just to look at them,'' she said yesterday.
Witnessing one of a pair of ducks get run over last summer
was the catalyst for her campaign, which ruffled some
feathers along the way.
In December, QLDC senior communications adviser Michele Poole
said when the suggestion had been raised by others in the
past, the community board was not keen on a ''proliferation
of signs'', particularly as the ducks did not all cross in
Deputy mayor Lyal Cocks was against the latest proposal,
saying the signs were unnecessary. He cast the single
dissenting vote against last week's community board
recommendation the signage be approved.
Yesterday, Cr Cocks maintained his view on ''unnecessary
signage clutter'' on the lakefront.
''We've got it [duck signage] in an area where we're trying
to keep it open for amenity value ... and as we know, ducks
won't always cross in the same point and people shouldn't
have to be at a sign to not run over ducks.''
Community board chairwoman Rachel Brown said the signs were
installed on Friday. She understood they were to be funded by
the council's traffic services renewal budget at a cost of
Mrs Neilsen thought the signs fitted the bill perfectly and
would hopefully reduce duck deaths by encouraging motorists
to slow down on the busy stretch of road.
''It just shows that we're a caring community, I think. And
what's wrong with it? Where's the harm? ... It just makes
people aware and that's all I want. I love ducks.''