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At its final meeting last week for this three-year term, Otago Peninsula Community Board members discussed the impact of major weather events and the peninsula’s vulnerability to climate change.
Ongoing discussions with Dunedin City Council and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency over the suitability of 40kmh speed limit signs on peninsula roads were also a hot topic.
Board chairman Paul Pope told The Star, while Otago Peninsula had come through the recent heavy rain reasonably well, apart from the unstable rock face at Vauxhall and a slip on Highcliff Rd, the area was prone to the affects of climate change.
The issue would continue to be of concern to the community in years to come, he said.
At its public forum, the board heard from community campaigner Tom Churchill, who gave the board an update on the ongoing debate around the 40kmh speed signs in the area and pointed out inconsistencies in the approach from council and Waka Kotahi.
"The board is clear that the signage needs to be in the correct positions, as at present the 40kmh sections of road are too long," Mr Pope told The Star.
The assertion that the 40kmh limit was due to safety concerns was somewhat undermined by the revelation that the Peninsula Connection road safety project would not reach Portobello School until 2028.
Although the council and Waka Kotahi appeared to be standing firm, a petition signed by 1600 people showed that the public wanted a voice on the issue, he said.
Later in the meeting, the board had a "good discussion" with council staff over the Peninsula Connection issue, and the potential repercussions for the Portobello School community of the project’s time frame, Mr Pope said.
The board received a funding application from Portobello Community Incorporated, a group which produces six issues of a community newsletter per year and requested $2370 from the board towards costs.
In keeping with a board ruling several years ago that it would only fund newsletters up to $500, the board agreed to grant the group $500.
Reflecting on the final board meeting for this triennium, ahead of local body elections in October, Mr Pope said the past two years had been challenging for the board, the community and local businesses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We still have work to do as elected members in the meantime, and the bigger projects at Te Rauone and the Peninsula Connection continue," he said.