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The Dunedin City Council’s submission to the Otago Regional Council’s long-term plan highlights work is needed to improve the water quality at Tomahawk Lagoon, but city councillors signalled in a a debate yesterday their concerns ran deeper.
"Our coastal waters are not monitored to the level they should be," Cr David Benson-Pope said.
Cr Jim O’Malley noted lack of monitoring at Blueskin Bay and deputy mayor Christine Garey felt the importance of the Otago Harbour needed to be reinforced.
Other issues raised yesterday included the steepness of the regional council’s proposed rates rises, doubt about the regional council being the appropriate body to run a bus service and its approach to regulating air quality.
Mayor Aaron Hawkins questioned the regional council putting a hold on air-monitoring activities while it reviewed how to be more effective with its involvement.
Cr Lee Vandervis said the regional council’s proposed rates rises were unaffordable and not justifiable.
The Otago Regional Council (ORC) is proposing to increase general rates by 73.2%.
Overall, rates could rise by 47.5% in 2021-22.
Cr Vandervis also argued a unitary authority could be more effective than separate city council and regional council bureaucracies.
Cr Benson-Pope said he welcomed the regional council taking more responsibility for air and water quality.
The city council supports the ORC spending $4.6million from year 1 on pest control, rather than a cheaper option.
Mr Hawkins said transferring the bus service to the city council should make it easier for the city to provide an integrated transport network.
Cr Mike Lord was not sure the city council would necessarily run an improved bus service.
"When it was run by the DCC, it was no better."