Push for amenities in town

Work to improve Dunedin's central city area might be back on the agenda as councillors are asked to commit funding.

The move to adopt a plan follows a three-year delay due to budget concerns.

What amount, and when, will be discussed by councillors at pre-draft long-term plan deliberations next week.

Council staff hope work could begin in 2018 and said it might take about three years.

Amenity improvements in the warehouse and Princes St precincts would continue in the meantime.

Substantial work in the Octagon and George St area is expected to include new paving and public art, and improved footpaths, seating, lighting, trees and intersections.

The council consulted on a central city plan in 2012, but funding decisions were deferred given fiscal constraints.

The plan remains in draft form, though some funding was approved for amenity improvements in the warehouse area and further investigation of the two-waying of SH1 south of Queen's Garden.

Planning and transportation staff said they would present an updated plan for upgrading central Dunedin to the council for approval in March, but need an indication of the council's intentions around committing fundingThey suggested there would be cost savings from improving amenities at the same time as planned water and paver renewal work and/or transport upgrades in the inner city in the next decade.

They also noted that if councillors endorsed a central city plan, they would also have to support an ''unfunded'' $9 million of work outlined in the draft long-term plan, namely a central city road safety upgrade, for which staff would seek co-funding from NZTA.

The work is one of several unfunded projects staff are seeking decisions about for the next 10 years.

They have outlined three options - expected to need the next three years planning and designing the central city work, and the following three years in construction. It is expected NZTA would co-fund some work, but by how much would be unknown until June.

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