12 Feb 2013

Tension at Clifford Bay meeting in Picton

8:40 am on 12 February 2013

Tensions were high in Picton on Monday night at a public meeting held by Marlborough District Council to discuss plans to move ferry services to Clifford Bay.

The meeting in Picton.

The meeting in Picton. Photo: RNZ

The Government wants to shift all freight and passenger ferry services at Clifford Bay, 35km south of Blenheim, at an estimated cost of $422 million.

The move would shorten a road-ferry trip between Wellington - Christchurch by up to 80 minutes and reduce a rail-ferry journey by nearly two hours.

But many business owners in Picton say the move will devastate the town's economy and are fiercely opposed to the idea.

Not a single person stood up in support of the proposal, despite repeated requests from the floor to hear both sides of the argument.

The venue for the meeting had to be changed at the last minute as the turnout was much bigger than expected.

A report by the Ministry of Transport on the viability of the plans is due in April.