Gasworks museum seeks funds

The Dunedin Gasworks Museum needs more money, but could also become the new home of a South Dunedin library complex, the trust running it says.

The suggestion came as members of the Gasworks Museum Trust joined 39 other submitters having their say on the second day of the Dunedin City Council's long-term plan hearing yesterday.

Trust member Glynn Babbington said the museum needed funding for earthquake-strengthening, weatherproofing and restoration work on key buildings, including the engine house and chimney.

The trust also needed a $50,000 maintenance budget to continue, as well as an extra $50,000 for an operational budget, and asked the council to forgive a $28,000 loan to the trust, used to replace the museum's boiler.

The council could also go further by buying an adjacent property, creating space for community use around the museum and even a home for the proposed South Dunedin community complex, he said.

Without extra funding, the museum's buildings would continue to deteriorate, with loose chimney bricks at risk of falling off, he said.

Other submitters joined the debate over the South Dunedin community complex project, including Dunedin Public Libraries Association president Merle van de Klundert.

She wanted to see speedier progress on the long-delayed project, and also urged councillors not to defer a planned upgrade of the central city library any further.

The central city facility was looking ''sad and bedraggled'' and she was ''embarrassed'' by its patchwork carpet and concrete walls.

Methodist Mission chief executive Laura Black also wanted to see progress on the South Dunedin complex, and believed it might be better suited away from the area's congested main street.

In other areas, she urged the council to prepare for climate change, while also focusing more on economic development.

Cycling was also back on the agenda yesterday, as Spokes Dunedin spokesman Robert Thompson urged councillors to continue work on the city's expanding network of cycleways.

The five preventable cyclist fatalities on Dunedin's State Highway 1, together with a long-term trend of rising fuel prices, highlighted the need for the council to fund better cycling infrastructure, he said.

That would get more people on bikes, boost tourism and make the city a more desirable place for people to move to, he said.

That included road-widening work on Portobello Rd, despite the project dividing submitters yesterday.

Portobello resident Job Rustenhoven supported accelerating the pace of work in the area, saying it would be well-used by his eldest daughter and greatly improve safety in the area.

But Tony Marcinowski spoke against it, saying it would destroy the beauty of the area.

Public transport and pedestrian safety were the main concerns for Dr Lynley Hood, of the Visual Impairment Charitable Trust Aotearoa.

She suggested a new loop bus service running in both directions along George and Princes Sts, and returning along the one-way street network.

That would allow people to park their cars and catch buses into the central city, which should be developed to make it more ''pedestrian-friendly'', she said.

Chris Ford, speaking on behalf of Disabled Persons Assembly and CCS, also supported the central city upgrade plan, as well as council funding to help save the physio pool.

Community boards also outlined their wish-lists yesterday, ranging from new traffic-calming steps in Port Chalmers to new freedom camping facilities on Warrington Domain.

Bruce Cowan, of Athletics Otago, said the council needed a ''cohesive'' plan and funding for improvements to Logan Park, while long-time council critic Calvin Oaten outlined his idea for a new Dunedin Citizens' Bank.

Federated Farmers senior policy adviser David Cooper backed smaller rates rises and council cost-cutting, while accountant Richard Farquhar was concerned the council was not paying off debt fast enough.

Otago Museum director Dr Ian Griffin praised the council's ''critical'' museum funding, but did not agree visitors should be charged to visit the museum.

Te Rauone Beach Coast Care Committee chairman Graeme Burns called for a $50,000 grant as significant progress was being made on its breakwater project aimed at saving the beach, with Port Otago close to finalising a price for the work.

The hearing continues today.

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

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