Main street, Nuggets Rd work approved

The Balclutha main street upgrade and The Nuggets Rd sealing project both got the green light on the second and final day of deliberations on the Clutha District Council's 2015-25 long-term plan yesterday.

The main street upgrade received a loan-funded addition of $600,000 to bring the budget for the streetscaping project up to a possible $3.2 million.

And the council approved the $2.63 million sealing of The Nuggets Rd in 2015-16 if the New Zealand Transport Agency chips in with its share of $1.6 million.

The overall rates increase for 2015-16 was approved at 3.18%, up from the draft plan's proposed 2.54%.

The main street upgrade was stripped back by the council to meet the $2.6 million budget the public was originally consulted on, chief executive Steve Hill said, but in this round of consultation the council included the funding in its draft proposal and received relatively little feedback.

Mr Hill said the funding could be used to reintroduce parts of the original design, such as work at the Memorial Hall, that were cut when the project was first approved.

The additional funding was opposed only by Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan, who has long supported the main street upgrade.

He said the ''same-service, same-charge'' waters rating scheme the council adopted during the first day of deliberations on the long-term plan had changed Balclutha's ability to pay for discretionary projects.

''It does my head in, but I have to vote against it,'' Mr Cadogan said.

The council received 13 submissions that opposed the additional funding and none in support.

However, Balclutha ward councillor Ken Payne reiterated the council position of ''do it once, do it right'', as did several other councillors.

The district assets manager Jules Witt told the council because the additional money was loan funded ''if we don't spend it, we don't spend it''.

The mayor was defeated in a 13-1 vote in favour of the additional funds for the upgrade. Cr Hilary McNab was absent.

The council's approval of the $2.63 million sealing of The Nuggets Rd in 2015-16, contingent on New Zealand Transport Agency funding, also received broad support.

Cr Hamish Anderson said the $1 million the district would spend on the road was an example of ''adding value to the whole''.

The Nuggets Rd, heavily used by tourists, presented a substantial business opportunity and when funding opportunities such as the possibility of the New Zealand Transport Agency picking up $1.6 million of the overall cost comes along ''you embrace them dearly and you don't let go'', he said.

The council received 12 submissions in favour of sealing the road and 11 against.

The council also received 11 submissions suggesting a toll road could pay for the work. Council staff advised, however, only very large and expensive roads would be considered for tolling by Parliament.

The council approved a submission by staff to make the case with the Ministry pof Business, Innovation and Employment for extending UFB fibre to Balclutha and Milton.

Cr Anderson said the council had a track record of showing initiative and producing results.

''We've got to be ready to try and take our fair share, or our unfair share, if someone misses out,'' he said.

The council approved an additional $21,810 in total for the mayor and councillors' salaries and an additional $6598 for community board salaries.

The council approved $130,000 to be spent on an upgrade of heating and ventilation systems at the council building.

The council approved in total $58,000 for capital projects on rural water schemes at Glenkenich and Waipahi.

Building consent fees were increased and fees and charges increased, including a $1 increase for users of council pools.

The overall rates increase of 3.18% in 2015-16 is set to be followed by an overall rates rise of 3.38% for 2016-17 and 3.02% for 2017-18.

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