Creek protection may be dropped

Flood protection work on Lindsay Creek might be dropped from the Otago Regional Council's plans but recommendations could see it investigated in the future.

It is one the recommendations made by the council's draft annual plan hearing panel that will be considered by the finance and corporate committee tomorrow.

Amendments to the 2009-19 long-term council community plan being considered included funding options for the Leith Lindsay flood protection scheme and the Taieri rating review.

The council received 158 submissions and 61 submitters presented to the hearing panel last month.

Based on the issues raised in those submissions, the hearing panel has made a number of recommendations, but none that changes the proposed 2.5% general rate increase.

It turned down all requests for funding, and the only change to be made to the draft was to include the council's plans to borrow the last payment of $10 million towards the Forsyth Barr Stadium and the related $4.7 million special dividend from Port Otago expected in June next year.

The council consulted on four options for funding the Leith Lindsay scheme, with the panel recommending option three - completing only the Water of Leith works at a cost of $38.3 million - with a view to still pursuing a crown contribution.

This would mean ratepayers in the Lindsay Creek area would revert from being in the direct benefit zone to the indirect benefit zone and pay less targeted rates.

The committee also recommends any future mitigation work for the creek be investigated for inclusion in the 2012-19 long-term plan.

The Taieri rating review drew 47 submissions, with three agreeing and 44 opposing all or part of it.

In its recommendations, the panel did not back submitters' requests for an economic assessment or external peer review to be undertaken.

Instead, it recommended the lower Taieri flood protection scheme proposal be adopted, the changes in asset allocation be adopted and that area should be retained as the rating base for the West and East Taieri drainage schemes. Among the recommendations made was an amendment to recognise there was some shared benefit to all of the community within the two drainage areas from the drainage network.

In response to other issues raised, the panel did not support reducing bus fares and declined a request to trial a bus service along Coast Rd between Evansdale and Karitane.

rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

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