CODC approves closures for rally

The Central Otago District Council has agreed the Targa South Island rally can go ahead in the district, despite an objection to the proposed closure of Moa Flat Rd between Ettrick and Tapanui.

The objection to the rally was discussed at yesterday's council meeting before it was agreed the Central Otago stages should go ahead, using a revised temporary road closure, on October 31.

Targa event manager Peter Martin said the closure was ''really good news''.

''The event has been running for 20 years in the North Island and this is the first time in the South Island. It has taken three years ... to form a course. That piece of road was critical for the whole event.''

Part of the process of organising the event was gaining permission for road closures and race organisers ''tried their best'' to minimise the impact on rural communities, he said.

Objector Jackie Aitchison said she ''could just not believe the council had approved it, considering there were no crash barriers on the road'', the main concern of objectors.

''They have moved it [the end of the road closure] but it does not shift our belief in it is not the best road in a lot of the factors. We have a ''keep rural roads safe'' policy and, being a back road, back roads are not maintained to the same spec as a highway.''

The road was also a link for rural communities.

Council roading manager Julie Muir said the council had ''lots'' of road closures, but this was the first time it had received an objection to a closure that could not be mitigated.

She said objections were usually withdrawn after mitigation.

Council roading services officer Mick Sparrow said other landowners in the area supported the event.

''Landowners said they ... don't get many in the area of this calibre.''

Lambing would be over by the time the Targa took place and people wanting to move about could be escorted along the road by marshalls even when it was closed, as racers set off at intervals and were timed individually.

During gaps in racing, people could access their properties.

The Clutha District Council (CDC) had received an objection from the same people and was going through the same process as the CODC, he said.

CDC manager district assets Jules Witt said the council had received five objections to date.

The submission period for the road closures ended on September 5 and objections would go before the council on September

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