Council to pay $9K towards security camera project

A Catlins community has requested council help to fund security cameras for its town.

Clutha District Council received the request for $9000 from community body Owaka Going Forward (OGF), as a late item during its final meeting of the year on Thursday.

In a letter to the council, OGF chairwoman Marion Leslie said the initiative arose following a "tragic accident" in the area a year ago, and on the advice of local police.

On May 8 last year, 33-year-old Owaka man Rikki McCall died following a hit-and-run as he walked to his home on Owaka Valley Rd. The following month, fellow local Alun Garth McLachlan, 50, was charged with and pleaded not guilty to failing to stop and ascertain injury in relation to the death.

The case remains unresolved.

During the meeting, Catlins ward Cr Dane Catherwood spoke strongly in favour of council support for the initiative.

He said the feeling among residents was CCTV cameras could have helped resolve the case quickly and with certainty.

Dane Catherwood
Dane Catherwood
"Locals have raised half the money towards two cameras, including a donation from the family affected. The community would like to see this project finished and delivered."

Elsewhere in the district, Balclutha already has CCTV, monitored by the town’s police.

In May this year, Kaitangata residents also requested funding for CCTV, asking the council to fund the full sum required, of about $25,000.

Councillors voted against that request, leading to some debate yesterday.

Cr Alison Ludemann said she supported Owaka’s drive for security cameras, but felt the council should treat all communities equally.

"I think it’s a good idea, but we need to work out where this money’s coming from. We turned Kaitangata down as we wanted a policy in place first. So to be fair, we need to be consistent."

Other councillors supported the funding, since community members had already begun fundraising.

Cr Jock Martin said the council should support those that helped themselves.

"Here’s a community that’s taken ownership. And this is a signal we need to be giving to our communities, that if you want support, take ownership."

Other councillors agreed the council should continue to formulate a clear policy on CCTV support for the district, while favouring Owaka’s initiative.

The council moved to give the project $9000, by 11 votes to three.