Questions about plans for harbour

A $1.4 million redevelopment plan for Oamaru Harbour and its surrounds has received a mixed reaction during the hearing of submissions on the Waitaki District Council's 2011-12 draft annual plan.

They included comments yesterday from former Waitaki mayor Alan McLay and former councillor Pam Spite about the creation of a campervan park in the area.

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The Waitaki Ratepayers and Concerned Citizens' Group said the proposed Steampunk-themed playground was "frivolous" and the cost should be cut.

Secretary Peter Ellis said the area should be maintained as green space in the meantime and making the harbour a working recreation facility was more important. A clean-up and maintenance of the area were essential.

Mrs Spite warned a campervan park was "a potential for an eyesore" if not properly managed and the council should think carefully before signing over land for the development.

The area behind the harbour should, first and foremost, provide green space with trees and small playground areas for different activities for the community to enjoy, with tables and shelters, she said.

Mr McLay criticised the use of what he called "prime real estate" for a campervan park.

"I urge you [the council] not to compromise on what is our front door to our future," he said.

North Otago Cricket questioned whether spending more than $500,000 from resource management fund contributions on a Steampunk-themed playground at the harbour was the best use of that fund.

Chairman Peter Cameron said a large multipurpose indoor sports and recreation facility would be required in the future and there was a large amount of deferred maintenance on sports ground needed to meet higher health, safety and performance standards.

An indoor facility would need substantial and innovative fundraising, along with council support, he said.

The North Otago Rugby Union, while supporting Steampunk, also questioned spending such a large amount from the fund and supported funding for a multipurpose indoor facility.

The Oamaru Rowing Club, which is based at and trains at the harbour, said it had three primary requirements from any redevelopment - access to its clubrooms, safe access to the water and a clear rowing lane around the harbour.

Club chairman Kevin Kearney said access issues appeared to have been satisfactorily addressed. However, the club wanted the council to play a more active role in ensuring the rowing training lanes on the harbour were kept clear of moored boats.

Given how congested the harbour had become, this required urgent attention.

In recent years moored boats had reduced the area the club could safely use, Mr Kearney said, comparing it to any other sports field.

"This is no different to someone parking parking a car in the middle of a rugby ground or cricket pitch," he said.

The Ahuriri and Waihemo community boards both said the harbour development was getting a disproportionate share from the resource management fund.


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