Parking lot to be redeveloped

A $435,000 grant from the government will help convert the parking lot near Oamaru’s Harbour Precinct from an "old dust bowl" into something "special", Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher says.

The council is set to receive the money from the government’s tourism infrastructure fund, which was announced on Thursday. The money will help redevelop the parking space beside Scott’s Brewery, most commonly used on Sundays for the Oamaru Farmers’ Market.

Mr Kircher said there had been plans to seal the gravel parking lot, but without the funding the budget may not have allowed the whole area to be done.

"The government money allows us to make it more special."

That would include an entrance, which would be visible from Harbour St, a multi-use performance area and power points at the site.

The area had become very popular and was used for many big events, but it was in need of work.

There were no markings on the gravel, which meant people parked "wherever there was a space".

That led to wasting space and occasionally cars being blocked in.

"On a windy day it becomes a bit of an old dust bowl."

Redeveloping the area would help encourage more visitors, but the work was also designed to benefit locals, he said.

Council major projects project manager Erik van der Spek said construction would begin in April next year and was expected to take about six weeks.

It would work with the farmers’ market to minimise disruption.

Funding was allocated towards the project in the council’s last long-term plan which would match the government contribution.

The budget for the development was $650,000.

About $100,000 of the government grant will be used to install a toilet at the entrance to Moeraki Boulders.