Departing councillor voices concern about trail

Oamaru ward Waitaki district councillor Hugh Perkins gives his valedictory speech in council chambers yesterday as Crs Jan Wheeler, Jim Hopkins and Guy Percival (right) listen. Photo: Hamish MacLean
Oamaru ward Waitaki district councillor Hugh Perkins gives his valedictory speech in council chambers yesterday as Crs Jan Wheeler, Jim Hopkins and Guy Percival (right) listen. Photo: Hamish MacLean
Three-term councillor and former Waitaki deputy mayor Hugh Perkins said it was an ''honour and a privilege'' to serve as a district councillor, as he addressed his colleagues at the final Waitaki District Council meeting of the triennium yesterday.

Cr Perkins started his short, at times self-deprecating, valedictory speech lamenting the council's lack of a responsible cat ownership bylaw, the cancellation of the $7 million cultural facilities redevelopment project, and its over-remunerated company directors and ''seriously under-remunerated'' community board members.

He also said while the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail had put the district on the map - it was not an unqualified success.

Another looming tourism project - the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark - could face similar pitfalls.

''It has to be acknowledged that original plans to make the [Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail] self-funding have failed to bear fruit. Some entrepreneurs along the trail are struggling to establish sustainable businesses. And ratepayers will be picking up the tab for a long time, maybe forever . . . This only increases my concern about the open-ended commitment we are continuing to make to the geopark, with an almost laughable business validation case, but in the absence of a robust business plan.''

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter