Local authorities will meet next week to discuss the future of a sign that bans jumping from Wanaka’s Albert Town Bridge.
Due to safety reasons, a “no jumping” sign was placed at the bridge in mid-February after the harbourmaster had to rescue four people over 24 hours late last year.
The issue has been raised with police and the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA), and a decision was made to install a standard “no jumping” sign, similar to what is used at other bridges around New Zealand.
A petition to overthrow the ban has been signed by more than 4000 people.
Queenstown Lakes District Council senior communications adviser Rebecca Pitts said the harbourmaster and deputy mayor would meet next week to discuss and clarify safety options.
“Following this discussion, the harbourmaster will consider whether it is appropriate to have further discussion with the NZTA on alternatives to the current sign.”
NZTA system manager Graeme Hall said police requested the sign be put in place.
However, that move has upset 4400 people who have signed a petition, which calls the ban “absolutely ridiculous”.
Olly Thomas, who started the petition, said the bridge had been a “famous landmark” in Wanaka since the late 1990s because people could jump from it into the Clutha River.
“Banning this is absolutely ridiculous as the amount of amazing memories us young locals have had are immense,” he noted, on the petition website.
However, the safety of people was the main focus of those behind the ban.
“The river is fast-flowing and in some places shallow,” Mr Hall said.
“Given the risk to life of not only a bridge jumper, but also members of a rescue team and others using the water over the summer months, it was decided a sign could be helpful.”
A police spokeswoman said police had been involved in some initial discussions with the harbourmaster and NZTA about the risks involved when jumping off the bridge, and discussions were continuing with relevant stakeholders.