Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board

Simon Henderson looks at highlights from the Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board.

New member for board

Austen Banks
Austen Banks
The Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board welcomed Austen Banks as its newest member.

Mr Banks was elected to the board in a by-election after the death of Brian Miller.

Board chairman Andrew Simms welcomed Mr Banks to the board, noting the "meritorious performance" of Mr Banks and other candidates in the by-election, "which I think showed some significant interest from the community in the work that the board is doing".

Deputy mayor Cherry Lucas then took the declaration from Mr Banks, saying she was pleased to welcome him to the community board.

"I'm sure that you are going to enjoy your time here and be of great service to the Mosgiel-Taieri community."

Long service acknowledged

The efforts of a long-serving member of the Dunedin City Council were celebrated at the recent Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board meeting.

Governance support officer Jennifer Lapham was recognised by the board as having reached the milestone of 40 years at the Dunedin City Council.

Deputy chairman Dean McAlwee said it was a very special occasion.

"We would like to thank you on behalf of the board, of what you do for us.

"In behind the scenes you make us tick, so we really appreciate that."

Historic sites to be showcased

A walking trail will uncover the settler history of Outram.

The Taieri Historic Society has been granted $1500 towards the project, which will showcase Outram’s history through information panels.

Society member, Jenny MacDonald of Outram, said the plan was to install signs with photos and information at 25 historic sites.

A QR code would link to more in-depth history online and flyers at locations including the Taieri Historical Society Museum and the Outram Hotel would provide a map of the walking trail.

With the potential for the Clutha Gold Trail to be extended from Waihola to Outram and Mosgiel, one of the challenges was the Taieri Historical Society’s heritage park was only open for limited hours on a Sunday.

Having information signs outside their buildings as well as other buildings in Outram could provide an opportunities for tourists to gain further insights into the history of the town, she said.

Dark path highlighted

The issue of a dark walkway between Cavan Pl and Centre St was presented to the board by local resident Gordon Cameron.

Mr Cameron said he and his wife were the first to move to a new Glenrothes Estate subdivision when it was completed about 10 years ago.

A public walkway runs through a small reserve established to allow for stormwater run off, and is used by many as a link through to a bus stop as well as a recreational walk.

As further homes were built, the amount of light in the reserve decreased.

By about 5.45pm, in particular in winter, the walkway was very dark.

"The walkway is pitch black, especially during winter."

At night he felt it was unsafe for women using the walkway .

"During winter, if my wife is going to walk to the bus I will actually walk her through. I won’t let her go on her own."

Mr Cameron said he had been communicating with the Dunedin City Council for more than three years about the issue.

He said one person had told him lighting should have been installed by the developer but it was overlooked during the consent process.

Mr Cameron suggested a solar light could be installed, which could be angled towards the path so that it did not shine into neighbouring homes.

"The walkway gets used regularly, all the time."

Rail versus riding debated

The merits of railways versus walking and cycle tracks were presented during the recent Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board meeting.

In an open letter, chairman Andrew Simms said Dunedin City Councillors and ratepayers would soon be asked to consider the future of the Taieri Gorge Railway corridor.

He questioned if it was prudent to spend more than $20 million on a "loss-making tourist venture" and said the council-owned Dunedin Railways Ltd had accumulated losses of more than $9m.

Mr Simms is also a member of the Otago Central Rail Trail Trust, and he presented an economic impact study prepared for the trust by economist Benje Patterson.

This report looked at the potential benefits of using the Taieri Gorge railway corridor as a biking or walking trail, and suggested an extension to the Otago Central Rail Trail from Middlemarch to Taieri could open up additional spending of between $6.9m to $11.4m per annum.

The report looked at potential scenarios including one that could accommodate a steam train journey from Middlemarch to Pukerangi, but suggested an option to have a walking and bike trail along the length of the Taieri Gorge railway from Hindon to Taieri would offer tourists an opportunity to see heritage rail infrastructure and scenery.

The report suggested becoming a major destination ride was more likely if the Taieri Gorge trail corridor was used.