Dangerous road shuts Hāwea's sharing shed
It's held a special place in the surrounding community for six years, but three large gravel trucks driving past has been the last straw.
Hāwea Flat’s sharing shed has provided the residents far and wide with free goods since December 2016. The original gift that started it all - six tomato plants.
Resident Jennie Harding says she's gotten books, her children's bikes and maternity clothes at the shed. She’s also taken baby toys from there and, after her children grew up, donated them back for someone else to use.
“In this day and age, everyone’s buying new things, and the second-hand stores and op shops are getting more expensive, it was great to have (the sharing shed).”
Ms Harding has been contacting the Queenstown Lakes District Council for years, campaigning to lower the 100-kilometre speed limit for Kane Road, where the sharing shed was located. She's frustrated by the lack of action.
“If the speed limit was lower the shed would probably still be there.”
It sits just before a blind corner, and many parked on the road while picking up items from the shed. Recently, there’s been “a few close calls”.
“There were really big trucks driving past in tandem and it was just making things so much scarier.”
Crux has been told someone from the council visited the road last year, in May 2022, following complaints from Hāwea Flat residents.
However, when Ms Harding contacted the council again with a fresh complaint, they told her they had no record of previous speed limit requests.
She has also contacted the trucking company directly asking them to drive their vehicles slower.
The open road speed limit on Kane Road has been reported on by Crux in recent months, after a social media post by resident Hamish Horsley circulated online, showing a photo of what he believed was the aftermath of a truck having skidded off the road.
Mr Horsley, who lives a few doors down, says his honey sign is frequently knocked over by the wind off trucks driving past, and he has had to reinforce the sign using blocks.
He says another member of the community had contacted police about the recent trucks but was told there was nothing they could do unless the trucks were travelling over 100 kilometres and hour.
Susan, the Sharing Shed's owner, has been approached for comment, but has chosen not to talk as the shut-down is still too "raw" for her to discuss.
The community is thankful to her, for the time and effort she’s put into creating and keeping the resource, sorting donations and uploading pictures of items online.
“It was such a commitment to manage, I don’t know how many hours she put into it each week," Ms Harding says.
The Queenstown Lakes District Council says it's started developing its Speed Management Plan since legislation for setting speed limits changed last year.
"We’re currently in the early phases of developing our first plan (to cover 2024-2027) and will be inviting feedback from our community in line with Waka Kotahi’s own State Highway Speed Management Plan consultation schedule."
They say Kane Road will be technically assessed as part of this and community feedback will open on the plan mid-year.