Lovelock Ave realignment back on the agenda

The long-running battle over plans to realign Lovelock Ave resumed at the Dunedin City Council annual plan hearings yesterday.

A procession of submitters took councillors to task over concerns the realignment would destroy a scenic drive, as well as existing facilities within the Dunedin Botanic Garden, and raise safety concerns for motorists affected by sunstrike on the realigned route.

Opponents' arguments had looked to be exhausted late last year, when the Lovelock Environment Society announced it had dropped plans for Environment Court action challenging council plans for the project.

However, councillors deliberating on the council's 2010-11 budget in January decided to hear from the public one more time, after fresh concerns were raised about the realignment project's $1 million cost.

Yesterday, Dr Helen Leach, of Dunedin, reiterated concerns motorists using the road would be affected by sunstrike, and warned the redevelopment would see the loss of facilities within the botanic garden partly funded by donors.

"What sort of message does this send benefactors?"The road was built in 1884, and for much of its existence was considered part of Dunedin's network of scenic drives, she said.

It was not an intrusion into the garden - rather, the garden had expanded to meet the road, she said.

Miriam Vollweiler, of Dunedin, said the realignment would destroy an "absolutely treasured" landscape enjoyed by Opoho residents, including a walkway she used each evening.

Robert Cunninghame, of Dunedin, criticised the "unnecessary expenditure" of realigning the road, believing the money would be better spent on other roads in a poor state of repair.

More submitters are expected to address the realignment over the next two days.


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