Sunday, June 16, 2024

Picton reserve occupation to end

Marlborough District Council and representatives of the Freedom Convoy protest group in Picton have agreed the group will relocate from Nelson Square no later than 5pm on Wednesday, 16 February.

Council Chief Executive Mark Wheeler said the protest representatives he met with yesterday had been reasonable and he believed they were acting in good faith.

“The group representatives agreed they will move on to private land to camp and sleepover. Council has offered them the use of Waitohi Domain, which is situated away from residential areas, as a day time meeting place where they can gather and pitch a food tent, until 5pm on Friday 4 March.”

“During this time, they must disperse each evening by 9pm and sleep at private accommodation,” said Mr Wheeler.

The following conditions were also agreed:

  • The group will reinstate Nelson Square Reserve as close as possible to its previous condition;
  • The group will not camp on any public land other than at approved camping grounds;
  • The group will not impede members of the public from enjoying the grassed area of Waitohi Domain (other than that required for the their approved vehicle parking and tents);
  • The group tidies up and removes all signage, equipment and rubbish from Nelson Square and Waitohi Domain.

Mayor John Leggett said the Council had deliberately sought a peaceful resolution that would not require the issuing of a trespass notice and police involvement.

“The Council has received many complaints from residents, unhappy that an unauthorised group had occupied a local public reserve that is normally used for recreation,” he said.

Mayor Leggett said the protesters have taken on a more responsible approach to managing their impact at Nelson Square by keeping noise levels down and tidying the site.

“I would like to thank the group representatives for doing the right thing and entering into a positive discussion with Council,” the Mayor said.

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