Councillors pay respects, praise contribution to city

The Dunedin City Council took the unusual step of adjourning its meeting yesterday as councillors acknowledged the death of Dunedin philanthropist and businessman Les Cleveland.

The start of the council's scheduled 1pm meeting was brought forward to midday and proceedings were adjourned at 1.30pm to allow councillors to attend the funeral of Mr Cleveland, who died last week aged 82.

Councillors also began yesterday's meeting by acknowledging Mr Cleveland's contribution to Dunedin over many years, and in many walks of life, which earned him the title of Dunedin Citizen of the Year in 1998.

He was also an Otago regional councillor and was responsible for giving more than two million daffodil bulbs and 8000 rhododendrons that grace many of Dunedin's public spaces, earning him recognition as Otago Gardener of the Year in 2010.

Cr Neil Collins yesterday noted Mr Cleveland's work as the patron of Age Concern Otago, and as part of the Rotary Club of Dunedin, saying he gave ''a great deal'' of time and energy to the city and would be ''a huge loss''.

Cr Kate Wilson praised his work as chairman, and later patron, of the Otago Central Rail Trail Trust, while Cr Paul Hudson focused on Mr Cleveland's gardening.

''For me, he will always be the daffodil man,'' Cr Hudson said.

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