Bus travel front of mind for board

Passengers line up for the afternoon Dunedin to Palmerston Bus at the Dunedin Bus Hub. PHOTO: ODT...
Passengers line up for the afternoon Dunedin to Palmerston Bus at the Dunedin Bus Hub. PHOTO: ODT FILES

Waikouaiti Coast Community Board

Bus services were top of mind for Waikouaiti Coast Community Board members at its last meeting for the year, held last week in Warrington, and featuring a presentation from Otago Regional Council transport implementation lead Julian Phillips.

Having attended several community board meetings in the past few weeks, Mr Phillips was on-hand to provide an update on bus patronage in the northern coastal area, and to hear any concerns or issues from board members.

Patronage on the Dunedin to Palmerston bus route had been high in the past quarter, with about 65 passengers taking the bus, including school pupils, at peak times.

During term time, 70% of the passengers on that bus route were pupils, Mr Phillips told the board.

"So, we see that the bus route is busier, and that school kids are driving a lot of that, like elsewhere in the city," he said.

Across the Dunedin network, patronage of buses had been up by 28% for the first three months of this year, he said.

Questions from board member Geraldine Tait included querying why buses from town dropped passengers at Evansdale and did not turn in to Warrington, meaning passengers had to walk 3km on "terrible footpaths" in all weathers.

Other issues raised by board members included overcrowding on buses, and whether additional services were planned.

Mr Phillips said Warrington was not included in the route out of town, but said he would look into it. He also highlighted that work was continuing on the ORC’s regional transport plan.

Public Forum

At its public forum, the Waikouaiti Coast Community Board heard a report from Coastal Communities Cycle Connection representative Emily Cooper about progress on the cycleway plans and her recent presentation to the Dunedin City Council.

Ms Cooper told the board it was exciting that the council had included the northern cycleway in its Transport Plan, and that the first section of the cycleway to be constructed would be from Waitati to the Orokonui Ecosanctuary.

Also presenting at the public forum was New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA) Otago chairman Ken Foote, who updated the board about the imminent opening of the association’s new private park at Warrington, which was on the site of the former King’s High School recreation facility.

The organisation had fenced the area, and would keep a careful eye on it, but would also open it up for pedestrian access. In addition, the access road would be sealed by Fulton Hogan, Mr Foote said.

In answer to board questions, he said association members using the facility would be urged to dispose of any effluent at other sites, to avoid overwhelming the local system.

Funding applications

The Waikouaiti Coast Community Board granted a funding application from Progress of Waikouaiti Area (POWA) for $1000 towards the provision of an artist and materials for a mural to be painted in Waikouaiti’s main street.

The board also granted a funding application from OneCoast Inc for $750 towards a solar lighting system to illuminate containers at the hub.