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Several of the questions from the floor were from people against a suggestion in the Cromwell Master Plan that the town's golf course be turned into high-density housing.
Cromwell Community Board chairman Neil Gillespie and member Robin Dicey said residents should not be "too concerned", as the proposal would continue to be discussed and decided with Cromwell Golf Club members and was a long-term one, potentially not to be pursued for 30 years.
Candidates Tony Buchanan, Luke Win and Cheryl Laws said the golf course should be protected as green space, and candidate Jocelyn Johnstone said other areas that supported smaller houses should be considered first.
Almost all candidates and sitting members said it was vital to manage Cromwell's growth well, and the master plan would help achieve that.
Most also supported working with the Cromwell Cultural Centre Trust to decide the best option for a multi-purpose facility that might replace the Cromwell Memorial Hall.
Twenty-one candidates for the the community board, Central Otago mayoralty, Central Otago District Council Cromwell ward, Otago Regional Council Dunstan ward and Southern District Health Board Otago constituency seats were at the meeting, in which candidates had three minutes each to speak and then one minute to answer any follow-up questions.
Central Otago-based health board candidates Malcolm Macpherson and Graham Clarke urged Central Otago residents to vote for inland Otago candidates to give rural areas a voice.
Regional council candidates, and members of the audience, all said it was vital for Dunstan regional councillors to stay strong when they were often outvoted by their "Dunedin-centric" urban counterparts.