Improvements to harbour outlined

Oamaru's harbour is to be rejuvenated after more than two decades of neglect, with the Waitaki District Council yesterday deciding to inject $1.346 million into the development.

Using $505,000 from the Resource Management Act contribution fund to help pay for it was one of the most contentious items in the council's 2011-12 draft annual plan.

Some felt too much of the fund, at present standing at $1.5 million, was going to be spent in Oamaru, leaving less for other areas of the district.

Yesterday, that was resolved when Cr Kevin Malcolm successfully reduced the fund's contribution from $505,500 to $355,500 and increased a loan for the work from $520,000 to $670,000, with Oamaru paying 80% of the loan and the rest of the district 20%.

The council is proposing to fund most of the development from sources other than rates, which account for $115,600 of the total, including $100,000 already allocated for harbour dredging. The rest is made up of the loan of $670,000, harbour endowment funds of $75,530, Resource Management Act contribution funds of $355,500 and grants of $130,000.

A mixture of public and private ownership of land will be investigated.

Corporate services group manager Carolyn Carter said once the harbour area had been tidied up, land which would be retained in public ownership and that which could be sold or leased could be identified.

The aim was to maximise earnings and returns from the land through private ownership or lease.

Redevelopment will start with making the freezer building secure and available for development and use.

Along the foreshore, including Oamaru Creek and to Friendly Bay, grassed areas, seating, shelter and exhibitions are planned.

On the former Friendly Bay carnival ground, a Steampunk-theme children's playground is proposed, along with a mock railway station and rail displays, including a locomotive and the former breakwater crane.

Other elements included in the redevelopment were public toilets, a new boat ramp, restoring the pedestrian overbridge, providing for a farmers' market outside the old goods shed, a campervan park on the former railway goods yard, landscaping, shelter, private developments such as the Friendly Bay tearooms and apartments in the former woolstore buildings, rerouting Waterfront Rd behind the North Otago Yacht and Power Boat Club, developing the quarry area and reducing the size of the yacht club's boat yard.

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