Brighton surf club seeks building bill grant

The Brighton Surf Life Saving Club has an impressive new home and an equally impressive bill left to pay, councillors have been told.

As a result, club patron and life member Maurice Bell asked the council to consider a $40,000 grant - spread over four years - to help bridge the gap.

The request came as the last seven submitters took their chance to address councillors on the final day of long-term plan submissions yesterday.

Mr Bell said the club had been left with a $124,000 shortfall after its new building's final cost came in higher than expected, at $650,000, upon completion in October.

The club's bank had since turned down a request for help, which left the club's contractor carrying the shortfall in the meantime, he said.

The club was ''very, very proud'' of its fundraising efforts, which had secured about $500,000 for the new building, he said.

It was also proud of the building, which served as a community centre as well as a club base and had been ''future-proofed'' for the next 30 years.

As well as providing a home for community events and surf life-savers, it served as a learning hub for school trips and water safety education, he said.

''This facility is just critical to the importance of the wider south coast,'' he said.

The club wanted $40,000 from the council, either in $10,000 annual grants or any other combination of that total, he said.

The request came as other submitters lined up with their own requests again yesterday.

Bus advocacy group Bus Go Dunedin called for less money to be spent on the city's planned bus hub, and more on improvements at bus stops to ensure kerbs aligned evenly with bus doors.

That would help older or less physically able people to safely step on and off buses, encouraging bus usage, group co-president Peter Dowden said.

''If people can't get on the bus ... they are not going to get off the bus in your nice new hub,'' he said.

Saddle Hill Community Board member Cr Andrew Whiley stepped into the submitters chair on behalf of the board, and thanked the council for its support for the community.

The board's immediate priorities included improving the ''confusing'' Green Island intersection and repairing drainage at Brighton Domain, Cr Whiley said.

Dunedin South MP Clare Curran called on the council to retain funding set aside for a South Dunedin community complex, saying South Dunedin was neglected when it came to community facilities.

She also supported a Mosgiel aquatic facility, but refused to answer a question from Cr Aaron Hawkins over whether it should get priority over the community complex, saying they were ''very different'' facilities.

''I don't think that's a fair question,'' she said.

Otago University Students' Association welfare officer Payal Ramritu wanted students' needs to feature more prominently in the council's long-term planning.

In the short term, that could include improvements to glass and rubbish collection in the campus zone, accelerated work on the city's strategic cycle network, and polling booths among other initiatives, she said.

OUSA was also in a ''unique position'' to help effect ''real change'' when it came to changing students' alcohol-related behaviour, she said.

However, changing perceptions would take time, and would require a long-term plan and resources, she said.

The submissions hearing concluded yesterday, but councillors would begin LTP deliberations on Monday.

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

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