It’s a case of 10 steps forward and one step sideways for Tauranga City Council’s new footpath design.
People have labelled the kinky footpath on Te Ranga Memorial Drive as ridiculous, but council defended the design, calling it flexible.
The crooked pathway features in The Lakes development in Pyes Pa, a large development where many homes are under construction. The fancy architecture of the houses seems at odds with the pathway running alongside them.
Former councillor Murray Guy saw the footpath on the weekend as he was viewing a section purchased by a relative.
“I can’t believe this ridiculous footpath and tree-planting being approved,” he said.
“How long before multiple accidents and frustrations for a variety of users occur? People on skateboards, mobility impaired and push-chair users will be using this path. I feel for the sight-impaired.”
Guy said the design was probably a result of too many cooks in the kitchen when it came to developments.
“It seems everyone wants to have a say on what developments look like and this is what we end up with.
“If this is going to be pulled up and put right, it will be an added cost to the ratepayer.”
Guy shared the image with some Facebook users, who were quick to poke fun.
“Thought this was a stitch-up, but then thought, hell, the council are on to something here,” one user said. “It is so bad that it could become a tourist attraction and the city of Tauranga will be on the world map for stupid places and things to see.”
Tauranga asset delivery manager Howard Severinsen defended the design.
“This is an example of subdivisional developers using flexibility to place the necessary underground services into the road corridor while still achieving some greenery.
“A straight footpath would have posed more problems accessing the underground infrastructure – fibre, water, gas, power and streetlight cabling – as house building proceeded.”
Pyes Pa Councillor Catherine Stewart said she did not have an issue with the crooked path, but questioned why the trees the design allows for were planted in the first place.
“I can see they were trying to be a bit creative with the footpath, avoiding the trees, but it is absolutely ridiculous to have that many trees so close together.
“Having trees that close to infrastructure and the road is just a problem waiting to happen.
“There seems to be some silly planting of trees in that development, with some trees going up next to driveways.
Tauranga City Council’s infrastructure development code says footpaths can be used “creatively to deliver variety, interest and identity into neighbourhoods”.
The code also says sight lines for pedestrians and vehicles should not be hampered by obstacles such as trees.
Council was unable to provide details on how much the footpath cost.