Milton service centre, pool complex proposed

Bryan Cadogan.
Bryan Cadogan.
Milton could be in line for a new pool and service centre complex, if one of several council proposals meets with ratepayer approval.

The Clutha District Council has released its latest annual plan document for public consultation, and it wants the future of Milton to be a major focus for community feedback.

The town, which has a population of about 2000, received a boost last May when the council earmarked $2million for a ''main street upgrade''.

In this latest round of consultation, the council has put forward three options for a further project of between $4million and $5.8million, to upgrade the town's swimming pool and service centre facilities, which would be budgeted on top of the main street work.

Cracks in the pool, located in Park Rd, have led to temporary closures and repairs costing tens of thousands of dollars since 2015, and the Union St service centre requires work to meet earthquake compliance.

Options presented by the council include ''bare minimum'' repairs; strengthening for the service centre and a separate pool rebuild; and a new, combined service centre and pool on the site of the current service centre.

The proposals signalled the council's confidence in Milton's future, Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan said.

''After decades of decline, the wider Milton area now has so many natural advantages ... that it has the potential to be the largest town in the district within 20 years. There are long-term structural requirements currently missing in Milton. We want to seize this moment of rural resurgence to tie things back together and lock in that potential for the future good of Clutha as a whole.''

Other new projects in the proposed 2019-20 plan include a district plan review, sealing Balclutha's Elizabeth and Charlotte St car park, and a sewerage and water extension at Gabriels Gully, in Lawrence.

The plan would entail a rates increase of 3.92%, compared with the 3.12% signalled in the 2018-28 long-term plan.

Mr Cadogan described balancing the district's future requirements with demands on ratepayers as ''an exciting challenge''.

''We're still below our rates cap of 4%, but we are ever aware of the pressures on the district's household budgets. Ratepayers having their say is what this consultation process is all about, and we'll take account of any concerns raised.''

The council would hold an ''information drop-in'' on the proposals at the Milton Country Club, from 4pm-8pm on April 9.

Submissions close on April 26, and the council will make a decision at a meeting on May 16.

richard.davison@odt.co.nz

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