Boost for dealing with dust

The Southland District Council has decided to increase its share of funding in the hope of helping sort out problems with dust suppression on gravel roads.

However, the decision will have a small effect on rates.

The council has decided to approve a subsidy programme to address the issue.

A ratepayer who wants a 150m semi-permanent road seal would pay a minimum $8000 contribution, the rest to be funded by the council and the NZ Transport Agency.

The programme was established after ratepayers brought the issue of dust nuisance to this year’s long-term plan hearings as Environment Southland decided to effectively eliminate oils as an option to manage dust.

In August, the council had approved $100,000 yearly as part of its long-term plan and later it had confirmation of a total budget approval from the agency of nearly $950,000 over the next three years to address the issue.

Presented at a meeting yesterday, a report by council strategic transport manager Hartley Hare recommended the council keep its funding level at $100,000 a year as that would not haffect rates.

However, due to an enormous amount of concern voiced by the community, councillors decided to increase the council’s share of funding by $52,640 yearly, in addition to the agreed $100,000.

The report stated the option would benefit more applicants.

The additional funding would also mean an extra 0.10% rates increase in the next financial year.

‘‘When combined with the other requests approved this year, the rates increase would now be 8.68%.’’

Cr Christine Menzies highlighted the strong concerns expressed by members of the community about their health and safety.

She said given the percentage of people with respiratory issues, she would like to see her council taking ‘‘full advantage of the funding now, rather than later’’.

Cr Ebel Kremer wanted to know what the effect would be on other council projects.

Services and assets group manager Matt Russell stated nothing would be dropped from the council’s plans.

Mayor Gary Tong was pleased with the outcome.

‘‘I think that shows how important council feels about the issue.’’


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