'Transformative' park upgrade given $250,000 seed funding

Balclutha could soon become a destination for young families after a "transformative" park upgrade was given a $250,000 kick-start.

The seed funding was granted to the council-established, community-run Naish Park Co-ordinating Group during Clutha District Council annual plan deliberations yesterday.

Councillors expressed unanimous support for the funding, which is earmarked for an initial three stages of work in the town's adjoining Naish and Centennial Parks.

The upgrade was identified during the Our Place Balclutha consultation process in 2017, and a co-ordinating group was formed in September that year.

The group presented concept plans for the upgrade to the council during annual plan hearings earlier this month.

The first three stages identified for seed funding are tree planting and site preparation; a new junior bike park; and a dog park.

Later stages are expected to include a water-play area, barbecue areas, a basketball court, a senior bike area and an extensive new play park for children.

Debate on the proposal centred on identifying budget sources.

Lawrence-Tuapeka ward councillor Geoff Blackmore proposed allocating $120,000 to the project.

Clinton ward councillor John Cochrane proposed increasing that amount to $202,000, saying the co-ordinating group should be encouraged with appropriate funding.

"They've done the hard work and we shouldn't be seen to be thumbing our nose at them."

Following further debate, councillors settled upon a final figure of $250,000.

The money will be sourced from the council's parks and reserves budget ($100,000), and its investment fund surplus ($150,000).

"This facility will be a destination for the whole district, and benefit all, at no additional cost to the ratepayer," Cr Cochrane said.


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