Funding centre opposed

Discussions on how the Clutha Recreation Centre in Balclutha should be funded dominated the Clutha District Council's draft annual plan meeting recently.

West Otago Community Board chairman Lindsay Alderton and board member John Herbert said their district was unanimous in its opposition to being rated for the centre.

The board argued West Otago was geographically and economically isolated from Balclutha, and it was not a natural destination for residents to go for sporting activities.

Mr Herbert said while he agreed in principle with the district council's uniform charge (UC) being spread across the district to help fund the centre, the West Otago ward wanted those same rating principles applied to funding the West Otago Health Centre.

"I am sure the people from Kaka Point to Kaitangata, and Clydevale to Clinton, will be as happy to fund our medical centre as we are to fund their recreation centre," Mr Herbert said.

Balclutha ward councillor Jeff Seymour said a ratepayer in West Otago would pay 10 times less towards the stadium than a Clutha ratepayer living in Balclutha.

"West Otago is still part of the Clutha District, and option three means you pay a very small part of the cost."

The Lawrence-Tuapeka ward has also made a submission opposing the rate rise, and Cr Geoff Blackmore argued that if there was so much community support in Balclutha, then the town should contribute more.

Other items raised included: the Catlins Historical Society's request for funding to continue employing the Owaka Museum director; the Balclutha Genealogical Group's request for funding for a film-reader for the library; South Otago Woodcraft's request a new street light be installed on the corner of Elizabeth and Crown Sts; Kaitangata and District Promotions' request for continued support of the community development programme; and the Kaka Point Community Centre committee's request for funding for new kitchen doors.

The council will meet again on June 9 to consider the submissions, and any changes to the annual plan, before it is finally adopted on June 24.



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