Numbers down, but council still gets message

Five members of the public at last night's Dunedin City Council long-term plan roadshow took...
Five members of the public at last night's Dunedin City Council long-term plan roadshow took turns questioning (seated, at right, left to right) Crs Andrew Noone, Lee Vandervis and Jinty MacTavish (standing) and council chief executive Paul Orders. Photo by Jane Dawber
Dunedin City Council representatives outnumbered their audience, but empty chairs trumped them both, at last night's budget roadshow meeting.

And that was after two more council managers realised their services would not be required and quietly slipped out the door.

Despite that, council chief executive Paul Orders said the message from ratepayers had come through loud and clear at public meetings around Dunedin in recent weeks.

Last night's roadshow was the final in the council series to discuss its draft long-term plan, which detailed council spending intentions for the next decade.

Public submissions close on April 17.

Five people were at the St Martins Hall in Northeast Valley for the start of last night's meeting, facing six council representatives led by Mr Orders and including Crs Andrew Noone, Lee Vandervis and Jinty MacTavish.

The five grilled the assembled panel on issues including the Caversham tunnel project, council debt and the merits of an eco-housing retrofit scheme.

Two more people arrived an hour late, and the scales tipped further when Cr Vandervis departed for "another meeting" moments later.

Mr Orders told the Otago Daily Times the turnout "wasn't typical" and he had been impressed with public engagement over the last month.

"There are clearly some very relevant issues for the community that need to be discussed."

There were 52 people at a roadshow meeting at the Pak'n Save supermarket in South Dunedin on March 22, and crowds of 96, 98 and 118 people at events in Portobello, Blueskin Bay and Mosgiel.

Another 95 people attended an Otago Chamber of Commerce-organised discussion, and 20 more were at a Sustainable Dunedin City-organised event, in recent weeks, council staff said.

The Dunedin Ratepayers and Householders Association has also organised tomorrow night's meeting at Burns Hall to discuss the council's draft annual plan, which Mr Orders and Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull will attend.


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