Bright future for Lawrence

Lawrence will lose a lot of poles, following the Lawrence-Tuapeka Community Board's decision this week to proceed with the $338,100 underground power and street lighting component of the Lawrence Streetscape Project.

However, the decision was not made without some objections.

The streetscape project budget of $610,000 had already been approved by the Clutha District Council at a meeting on April 1, with the bulk of the budget funding the underground power ($272,000) and lighting ($66,100).

The underground power and lighting was the subject of public consultation , as the total cost meant households in the Lawrence-Tuapeka ward would be paying an extra $38 in rates for the next 25 years.

Council manager district assets Jules Witt said there were 82 responses to the consultation survey, and 62% were in favour of the underground power and lighting going ahead.

After some discussion about the results of the consultation survey, and on the merits of having underground power, Cr Geoff Blackmore said he had concerns about the project.

"I don't think we are getting the best bang for our buck when you look at the rate increase ... we are locked in for 25 years."

He suggested waiting until the cost of sewerage and wastewater upgrades was known.

"We need those. We don't need this."

Mr Witt said some of the survey comments were around picking it up later on, but it would be 20 years later on.

"We'll be upgrading everything, so you won't be able to revisit this in five years time."

Mr Witt and council chief executive officer Charles Hakkaart said the underground cabling was only going to get more expensive as time went on.

Brad Houghton said having the power lines underground would add to the aesthetic of the town and attract people.

A motion put by Cr Blackmoreto delay the underground power and street lighting component for the next seven years, while the Lawrence sewerage and water upgrade schemes were being paid for, was lost four votes to three. Rowena Paterson then moved that the board confirm the project, which was carried.


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