Harbour survey draws numerous responses

Gary Kircher
Gary Kircher
With 878 responses to the Oamaru Harbour survey and more than 40 written submissions, the Waitaki District Council has received more feedback than ever as it begins work on its masterplan for the area.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said  he "really appreciated" the number of people who took the time to get involved in what was an important stage in the harbour’s evolution  and  some strong themes  came through in the responses.

While there were no real surprises, there were some "seemingly contradictory" responses that would require some interpretation.

"We [the council] have been elected to lead, and obviously there are a lot of people that are really passionate about the harbour. Whichever way we go on things, there’s going to be some disappointed people," Mr Kircher said.

"But I think this is a vision for the next 30 years. If we get it right, the current generation and the next generation [are]  all going to enjoy the harbour that we’re producing along that timeframe.

"We’re not like Dunedin with their waterfront plan, where they need to be really aspirational because they’ve got pretty close to a blank slate there.

"We’ve actually got something which people are saying they like, they want to keep it that way, they don’t want significant change from that. That’s really good for us — that means the last 15 years we’ve been on the right track."

The council met  Arrowtown consultants Rationale on Tuesday to review the results and the interactive charts  displaying them.

The council planned to  publish the survey results online, he said.

The "tranquil charm and beauty" of the area was highlighted as a favourite feature of the area, as was its family-oriented atmosphere.

In the so-called word clouds the consultants created "tourists" and "locals" featured equally prominently in words mentioned most by respondents.

Some called for more commercial opportunities, others less commercialism.

While heritage and wildlife both featured strongly in the responses, neither figured in as highly as he had expected.

"This is not a numbers game, it’s what are good ideas," Mr Kircher said.

"It’s not about the numbers exactly ...  we could have a brilliant idea that only one person’s suggested, but if it’s a brilliant idea and it should be in there [the plan], put it in."

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