Toitu seeks $50,000 from ORC

The Otago Regional Council is being asked to contribute about $110,000 towards Toitu Otago Settlers Museum's redevelopment and the Dunedin City Council-hosted EnviroSchools programme.

A panel of regional councillors - David Shepherd (chairman), Gretchen Robertson, Gary Kelliher, and Gerry Eckhoff plus council chairman Stephen Woodhead - will consider the submissions as part of its draft annual plan deliberations, which begin in Cromwell on Monday.

Fifty-five submissions were made to the draft plan covering a range of topics from the council's proposed new biodiversity strategy, transport issues, pests, the implementation of the council's 6A water plan to coastal and lake issues.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said in his submission the waste levy funding used to support the EnviroSchools programme was to be tightened by the Environment Ministry, which meant only the waste-related portion of the programme could continue to be supported by that fund.

''The DCC does not think that it is appropriate or fair that Dunedin city ratepayers fund the regional co-ordination of the EnviroSchools programme, when the benefit of this function is regional,'' Mr Cull said.

He asked the regional council to reimburse the city council $60,000 for EnviroSchools regional co-ordination. The city council was happy to continue to employ the staff to do the work and provide office space, as it would retain the existing experience it had, he said.

Otago Settlers Association fundraising chairman Barry Clarke, in his submission, asked the council to consider putting $50,000 towards the $200,000 needed to complete fundraising for Toitu's redevelopment.

It would take the form of sponsorship of a special exhibition space with ''naming rights'' for a period of years to be negotiated, he said.

Another funding request came from the Pathways for the Pomahaka Group, which wanted up to $20,000 from the council to help it with gorse, broom, willow and silver birch control in the catchment, particularly next to wetlands.

An issue generating many submissions was the need for a southern lakes management plan and more research on Lake Wanaka.

Another was requests for the council to take a more active management role in making sure wharf areas around Otago Harbour were dredged and maintained, so access was easier, especially at low tide.

The farming community, including Fonterra and Federated Farmers, requested the council include measures to implement its 6A water plan and give effect to mediated measures, such as a reference group.

Submissions will be heard in Cromwell on Monday and in Dunedin on Thursday.

The panel will then adjourn to consider the submissions before making recommendations to the council next month.

rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

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