Cheque pleases mayor

Another repayment has been made to the Waitaki District Council for a $10 million loan it made in 2006 to help build the North Otago Irrigation Company's scheme.

On Tuesday, company chief executive Robyn Wells presented the council with a cheque for $822,011, made up of interest and repayment of principal.

The company had now paid the council $1.8 million, which included $1.329 million in principal repayments and the rest in interest.

Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton said the payment was ''outstanding progress''.

The district's agricultural base needed irrigation and in the future would make full use of the company's scheme.

The company approached the council in 2006 when it was building the 10,000ha first stage of the scheme, which cost about $67 million, and asked it to contribute.

The council granted a loan of $10 million for extra infrastructure to be built to ensure enough water was available for a second stage of a further 10,000ha.

That stage was now being developed and, as farmers bought shares to secure water, the company was repaying the loan and interest to the council.