Dunedin city councillors
have moved to allay community concern over delays to Otago
Peninsula cycleway and roading improvements, by bringing
forward about $3.3 million worth of work on the next two
The decision at yesterday's infrastructure services committee
meeting meant funding would be pencilled in for the 2014-15
year as part of the council's draft long-term plan, to be
consulted on over the next few months.
The council had earlier proposed a three-year delay to work
on the remaining sections of the $35.5 million cycleway,
shared path, road-widening and seawall improvement project,
with funding to resume in 2015-16.
Yesterday's decision - if it remained unchanged - would mean
work resumed one year ahead of schedule.
Councillors yesterday agreed to bring the funding forward
after committee chairman Cr Andrew Noone said it was
important to "send a signal now" to the community, showing
the council remained committed to the project.
The work would mean
improvements to Harington Point Rd, between Ohinetu Point and
Harington Point, including a low-lying section of road
subject to inundation from spring tides and waves in certain
The decision also meant the project would remain in the
running for a New Zealand Transport Agency subsidy covering
66% of the cost, administered through the agency's regional
land transport plan (RLTP).
The peninsula project remained in the draft RLTP, but the
next three-year allocation to 2015 was being considered later
NZTA funding was already oversubscribed, and success in
obtaining a subsidy for the peninsula work would depend on a
council commitment to funding its share, councillors heard
Council transportation operations programme engineer Michael
Harrison told yesterday's meeting that without council
funding being confirmed, it would be easy for the project to
drop down NZTA's list of priorities.
"It might be an easy [way] out for them," he said.
Obtaining a 66% subsidy would mean the council paid $1.1
million towards the two stages, while NZTA met the rest of
the cost, he told the Otago Daily Times afterwards.
The change won support from most councillors at yesterday's
meeting, with Cr Richard Thomson saying it was about keeping
the council's options open.
Cr Kate Wilson said it was important to show residents and
NZTA that "we're still serious" about the project.
Cr Jinty MacTavish warned councillors they risked prejudging
the outcome of community consultation over the draft budgets
by including funding in only the 2014-15 financial year.
She worried that would commit the council to carrying out the
work only in that year, if the NZTA subsidy was obtained for
that period, regardless of submissions received in the next
She urged councillors to reinstate the full three years'
funding for consultation, but Cr Noone said that would be a
judgement call for each councillor to make.
Cr Syd Brown said future sections of the project could be
considered in the next RLTP beyond 2015, as long as the
council retained annual funding of $2.5 million - originally
scheduled to resume from 2015-16 - in its draft long-term
Deputy mayor Chris Staynes said fiscal constraints meant the
council still needed to control its spending, "but this
project has been important to the city".
Councillors voted to approve the change, meaning the funding
would become part of the draft long-term plan to be released
for public consultation on March 10, followed by public
hearings on submissions on May 2-4.