Upgrade project at park defended

Views of upgraded sports facilities at Ellis Park, in Kaikorai Valley, will hardly be worse than those of the existing building, the project planner says.

Keith Hovell countered criticism of the proposed upgrade on behalf of the Dunedin City Council's parks and recreation services at a consent hearing in Dunedin yesterday.

He said adverse effects of the upgrade would be minor, and would not outweigh the benefits.

Public toilets and upgraded sports administration facilities were desperately needed at Ellis Park, where existing amenities were ''woefully inadequate'', he said.

The proposal could be mitigated by planting and the use of subtle building materials, and it was in no way contrary to provisions of the council's district plan, Mr Hovell said.

The occupants of four homes on Frasers Rd opposed the upgrade because they said it would ruin their views of the park.

But Mr Hovell showed hearing commissioner David Benson-Pope photographs taken of the park from opponents' houses, on to which an image of the proposed new building had been superimposed. He compared them to photographs of the existing view and said the only thing obscured by the new building was a small patch of grass, which was insignificant in the context of the entire park, most of which could be seen.

Mr Hovell said trees and shrubs planted by opponents on their properties screened more of the park from view, and the council was prepared to increase planting in mitigation of its proposed upgrade, if opponents wished.

Alternative sites for the building had been considered, but the proposed site was most suitable, he said. It was possible the new building could be located about 16m further along Frasers Rd and away from opponents' homes, if the proposed public toilet was shifted to the building's other side, Mr Hovell said.

Mr Benson-Pope planned to visit the site before making and releasing his decision.

- rosie.manins@odt.co.nz

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