Don't sacrifice standards for savings, council told

Ensuring the level of service from council contractors is maintained has emerged as a general concern from Dunedin community boards as the city council continues putting the screws on spending.

Chalmers Community Board chairman Steve Walker yesterday told councillors working on the Dunedin City Council's 2014-15 draft budget that residents had complained to the board about ditches being uncleared and regular maintenance left undone; the board perceived a possible issue with the accountability of contractors employed to maintain ditches and roads in the area, he said.

The board was also concerned sea-wall maintenance was not being kept up but its main concern was that the shared path alongside State Highway 88 be completed, so it would finally reach Port Chalmers.

''I don't think a day goes by when we're not asked when it's going to be completed.''

The existing part of the path was well used.

''It would be great to see the final push that is going to take us all the way forward.''

A temporary 30kmh speed limit in George St had been successful and the community would like to see it made a permanent speed limit.

The Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board's number one priority was a new pool in Mosgiel and chairman Bill Feather urged council to spend a recommended $80,000 on investigating the costs and needs for such a project.

A planned $100,000 decrease in funding for resurfacing Riccarton Rd was a ''grave concern'' for the board, given the type and amount of traffic that used the road; if the council was not prepared to put money into making the road safe to carry that volume of traffic, it should limit the number of vehicles allowed to use it.

Council infrastructure and networks manager Tony Avery said council was making good progress in discussions with landowners about buying land to widen the road. He said the road would be resurfaced at that point.

The Saddle Hill Community Board asked the council to support its project to improve the Brighton Domain. There was a perceived lack of buy-in from council staff, which was frustrating.

The board also called on the council to put a footpath on the side of every road in the area's communities and improving existing footpaths.

Chairman Scott Weatherall said the board was still concerned about safety on the road outside Fairfield School, and thanked the council for its efforts to protect the ridgeline of Saddle Hill.

He urged it to go even further and stop quarrying on the hill altogether.

The board asked the council to take another look at landfill charges, as it saw an increase in illegal dumping when prices went up, and asked the council to maintain road-care service levels and reintroduce a budget for sealing gravel roads.

Strath Taieri Community Board members were concerned about lack of care for some of their rural roads as well, and that council service levels in general were maintained in their district.

Waikouaiti Coast Community Board chairman Gerard Collings said his board sought assurance from council that the savings being achieved were not going to be at the costs of service standards for roads, water, pavements, etc in its area.

''We have had comments from members of the community that they feel things are slipping a little.''

If people could be assured that if they called with a problem, a contractor would respond, that would go a long way, Mr Collings said.

The board also sought assistance from council to identify the impacts for the community if Macraes mine was closed. The board was yet to be convinced of the benefits of the stadium events attraction fund, and asked the council to take a careful look at the benefits or otherwise of that fund.

Toilets at Waitati, pest control at Mt Watkin/Hikaroroa, skip clean-up days, and the maintenance of reserves and coastal management funding were other issues the board was concerned about.

The Otago Peninsula Community Board's number one priority was the completion of Portobello and Harington Pt Rd road-safety improvements, in the existing sequence with no further delays.

-debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz

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