Public to help pick projects

Tapanui’s main street may be in line for an upgrade next year, depending on the outcome of a...
Tapanui’s main street may be in line for an upgrade next year, depending on the outcome of a community plan consultation given the go-ahead by Clutha District Council this week. PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON
West Otago can begin to look forward to civic improvements, after the Clutha District Council gave the go-ahead for community consultation on Wednesday.

In the latest round of the council’s "Our Place" community plan processes, West Otago residents will get to have their say on discretionary spending on civic enhancements, from January 24 next year.

West Otago is among the last subdistricts in Clutha to undergo the process, which began with Balclutha in 2017.

Through the consultation process, the council hopes to identify projects that will promote inward migration to the district, under its Living and Working in Clutha strategy.

The draft Our Place West Otago document presents a range of suggestions.

They include improvements or additions to community facilities, such as destination playgrounds, skate parks, pump tracks and community halls; council-facilitated housing, industrial or commercial developments; conservation and enhancement of landscape and environment; Tapanui main street improvements; and the creation of walking or cycling trails.

Growth in employment opportunities had driven a gradual population increase in the district since 2013, leading to demand for homes.

"Although 14 new homes have been built in West Otago over the last three years, many people still find it hard to find a house to purchase or rent," the document says.

A specific opportunity addressing this issue would be the residential development of the council-owned Hancox Park, a 1.4ha site in northeast Tapanui.

The council could also consider rezoning land in and around Tapanui under the simultaneous district plan review, the document says.

"More quality housing development would help to attract people to live and work here, and a wide range of employment opportunities is crucial to ensuring future growth."

During the council’s regulatory and policy committee meeting in Balclutha yesterday, West Otago ward Cr John Herbert said he welcomed the opportunity presented.

"This is the most important thing to happen in our district during the next few years, so I’ll be happy to see it get under way."

A preliminary, informal consultation will take place at the West Otago A & P Show on November 20.

From January 24, residents will have eight weeks to make formal submissions.

The council will adopt the final community plan on June 23 next year.

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