University expects to pay $204,000 on Leith

The University of Otago will contribute an estimated $204,000 to beautify the banks of the Water of Leith as part of flood protection work.

Work to increase the flood-carrying capacity of the Leith from St David St to Union St was approved to go out for tender.

The Otago Regional Council had budgeted $5.4 million for the project, scheduled to take place in front of the university's registry building over the summer.

Its funds for the work come from targeted rates on homes and businesses in Dunedin city but not the university as it was a non-rateable property owner.

University chief operating officer John Patrick said under a flood protection works design, construction and maintenance agreement, the university and regional council had agreed the university would contribute to the costs of the scheme, recognising the increased amenity value it would bring to the campus.

The additional amenity works were important as the area in front of the registry clocktower was a heritage landscape and it was important that flood protection work had minimal impact, Mr Patrick said.

Walkways on the other side of the Leith in that stretch were busy with pedestrians and it was important any works improved the pedestrian flows as well as gave safe access to the riverside.

The university's contribution to costs was ''50% of all additional costs associated with the modified scheme, over and above the costs in the preliminary estimates dated November 3, 2004, adjusted for inflation''.

This meant the university would not know its total contribution until costs were incurred by the council, he said.

''The ORC have indicated to the university that the contribution they will be seeking for the St David St to Union St reach will be approximately $204,000.''

The university was also considering improvements to the Castle St walk and the Castle St approach to the St David St footbridge, the ORC said.

Mr Patrick said the cost of those works and when they would be confirmed ''had yet to be determined''.

Final approval for the contribution to the regional council's costs was given at the June 2013 university council meeting, he said.

-rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

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