Rally 'opportunity' for peninsula

Lox Kellas
Lox Kellas
The Otago Peninsula Community Board is backing the Targa South Island rally despite some resident opposition to the closure of Highcliff Rd.

This comes after the proposed closure of the road - which is part of the route in October for the first Targa rally in the South Island - divided opinions of Otago Peninsula residents who live in and close to the route.

While not completely happy with how Targa organisers had carried out consultation on the closure, the community board yesterday unanimously voted in favour of the Dunedin City Council approving consent for the road closure when it considers the issue next week.

Board member Lox Kellas said there was no reason to be concerned about the closure, which was taking place on a weekday morning when most people would be at work.

''I think there is nothing wrong with it. They are using classic cars with a safety plan and a traffic management plan.''

''[Targa New Zealand] is a professional organisation ... and I think it's an opportunity for Otago Peninsula to be exposed to the wider world,'' Mr Kellas said.

Hoani Langsbury said he had spoken to local farmers and been told ''there isn't going to be any issue'' if the road was closed.

There were also no worries about safety.

''These people have restored these vehicles. They are almost like their children. They are not going to be putting their vehicles at risk by driving in the same manner as if it was part of the World Rally Championships.''

Both Paul Pope and chairwoman Christine Garey said they were disappointed Targa organisers had not gone through the community board, saying they would likely have had a smoother time if they had consulted the board.

The vote came after residents opposed to the closure - from 9am-1.30pm on Thursday, October 30 - expressed concerns about being unable to access their properties, noise and exhaust fumes from the event and the ''arrogance of organisers''.

Earlier at the meeting, council acting transportation group manager Jon Visser said it had been happy with the level of consultation, which involved Targa door-knocking residents along the various routes.

Council transportation technical officer Michael Tannock said there had been no complaints from residents about the other two Dunedin stages, which were on Mt Cargill and along George King Memorial Dr, Outram.

Councillors will vote on Monday whether to approve the road closures.

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

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