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The Dunedin City Council is to consider more modest plans for a possible "landmark" bridge, linking the central city and harbourside area, and bringing the project forward.
The idea was suggested by Cr Jinty MacTavish at yesterday's third day of 2011-12 annual plan deliberations.
She wanted to gauge councillors' support for the option, which would allow a cheaper version of the bridge to be built more quickly, and called for a staff report to consider the idea.
Plans for the bridge were first unveiled by Mayor Dave Cull in February, the structure to be built beside the Chinese Garden and provide a link from Queens Gardens to the harbourside area. Two possible options - a cheaper, functional bridge costing about $1.5 million, or a landmark structure costing between $2.6 million and $3.5 million - were to be investigated, with funding budgeted for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 years.
At the time, Mr Cull said changes to the council's harbourside plans had reduced its costs to ratepayers, meaning the council could fund even the most expensive option and still save $2.964 million.
Yesterday, Cr Paul Hudson said a new bridge, if built, would have to meet certain standards. However, he questioned the need for a new structure at all, given an existing pedestrian crossing was located just 150m away at the Dunedin Railway Station.
Cr Syd Brown said he would support a staff investigation of the options, but was concerned staff had indicated work on planning for the new bridge would begin in the next year. It appeared staff believed there was no other option but a new bridge, but "I challenge that", he said.
Mr Cull said a report to the council's planning and environment committee would be appropriate, while the council's spatial planning process would consider the bigger picture of harbourside connectivity.