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Small project list still up in the air

October 13th, 2011
[by David Armstrong]

The items to be funded through the targeted "small projects" rate for the Motueka ward have still not been finalised, with the Community Board deciding to thrash out the options further at another closed workshop.

However, the board at its October meeting on Tuesday did accept two recommendations from the chairman David Ogilvie on the spending, namely that:

  1. $15,000 from the Community Board’s 2010 – 2011 surplus be added to the $21,739 raised by the Community Board rate, and
  2. $7,500 be allocated towards constructing five pram crossings/mobile scooter crossings in the central areas of Motueka.

As we reported at the board's September meeting, individuals on the board have not agreed on how much money should be spent from the rate and on what. The top-voted small projects from the published survey may not be carried forward due in part to the disappointingly low community response being the reason that the vote should not carry too much weight.

The remainder of David's recommendations remain on the table for discussion at the workshop, which is expected to make solid decisions for the board's November meeting. They are:

  • That $10,000 be allocated towards constructing kerb and channel along Hursthouse Street from Main Road, Lower Moutere westwards for approximately 300 metres; OR
    that $10,000 be allocated towards (i) constructing a safety guardrail at the northern part of School Road intersection with the Moutere Highway, and (ii) constructing a gravel footpath along the northern boundary of School Road for approximately 100 metres (opposite Lower Moutere School entry).
  • That $7,500 be allocated towards a litter collection from 1 November 2011 to 30 June 2012, as outlined above. This would cover 12 hours a week at $15 per hour for 35 weeks and allow $1,200 for other costs. A community group could be prepared to collect litter from Riwaka to Kaiteriteri as a fundraising opportunity.
  • That the balance ($12,000 approximately) be allocated towards sealing the 2.5 metre wide walkway/cycleway from Old Wharf Road to Thorp’s Bush alongside the Woodlands Drain. (Note: Community Services has budgeted to construct a pathway to a “ready for sealing” standard. Sealing this popular pathway would provide a low maintenance surface suitable for walkers, cyclists, prams, mobile scooters etc).

In choosing to reconsider these projects and any others that board members think are worth including, discussion again came down to how closely the board should follow the 'voting' of those who answered the survey. Mark Chapman, who was overseas during last month's meeting and the subsequent workshop, said he did not like the board not listening to what the community have said.

Mark said the board risks being seen by residents in the same way that the board feels it is sometimes treated by the TDC - listened to and then ignored in the final decision making on a 'we know best' basis.

Barry Dowler and Cliff Satherley were uncomfortable with the decision-making process to date and asked for the extra workshop to thrash out some of the contentious items in a more realistic light.

Jack Inglis was in favour of making no decisions now but using the money as and when needed as other projects and needs became apparent.

In emailed correspondence following the meeting, Barry Dowler told Motueka Online that items were still too loosely defined and not enough is known about some of them. "I just feel that we need to sit down, have a correctly agended workshop, where we possibly will prioritise all the options to allocate money to, and how much," he said.

As an example, he detailed the Hursthouse Street curb and channel project. "300 metres will not go past all the houses, it is closer to 550 metres. Then if we put curb and channel there, we will have to shift the letter boxes out to the curb for the rural mailman, otherwise he will have to bounce the curb to do mail delivery. Do we have enough money to do this?, and from memory, there was only one response for this. Not many children live down this street at the moment, the road edge is under stress but it is repaired as necessary.

"Hau Road, though, has several children in this area, has high traffic movements with CJ Industries and buses, and now the dry cleaners are about to shift down there, so there will be more movements, and on a wet day, the children or parents walk on the road. I feel this is important. To possibly get a curb and channel with maybe a shingle path. Is this more important, even though it was not on the list?"

One option, Barry said, may be to do only a couple of projects at the end of this year and others between January and June. "I do not know. I know that the list that was in the paper for people to vote on, possibly should be the one we use, but it was a very low response number (34 from memory for some items) and ... this is our first go at this.

"I was not going to originally vote for the special rate to be collected, but when it was decided that it was for projects that were low priority for the Council, but high priority for the Ward, I decided to say yes, let's get on with it.

"For example, the Litter Cart has never been any priority for the Council. It was set up by Keep Motueka Beautiful and I can remember when it was done, I was a member of the Community Board and it was shown to us at a meeting by Bob Cooke. A sitting Councillor at the time said, 'You watch, give it three or four years and the Council somehow will be expected to take it over and pay for it'. That is one of the discussions we must have and take a hard line on, one way or the other, on exactly what we are going to do.

"Everything is important, but some things are more important than others, we just have to decided which ones and can we fit them in our budget. I am sure we will upset someone, but also please someone else. That is the nature of this role."


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