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A new turning circle in Esplanade Rd could eliminate safety concerns in the area.

At a meeting of the Waitaki District Council’s harbour area committee last week, the draft Oamaru Harbour Plan 2020 and Beyond detailed the intention to move the turning circle at the end of Esplanade Rd to the Oamaru Harbour Tourist Park entrance.

About six car parks would be lost to create a larger circle, to accommodate bigger vehicles.

The old site would become a small square, which could still be used by vehicles and an open space for harbour users.

The project is expected to cost about $25,000, and is not budgeted for at present, but could be included in the long term plan.

However, Waitaki district councillor Jim Hopkins said community reaction had been insufficient to warrant a change.

Cr Hopkins, who is not part of the committee, said it was not a subject that attracted public submissions.

“I do suspect it might be a matter that could attract opposition, and I would like to see it a little bit more conditional than it is at the moment … I have anxieties about it, and I’m not sure I agree with it either,” he said.

Committee member Cr Melanie Tavendale said the lack of a response from the community did not necessarily mean no action should be taken.

The present situation was not ideal, with a half-turning circle beside the playground, and it was common sense for the change to occur, Cr Tavendale said.

“I’ve been down there and had concerns watching the vehicle movements. You can’t get a trailer or anything around there, people are backing off into a playground and I think safety-wise it’s a given for me.”

Mayor Gary Kircher agreed and said now was the time to act.

“Traffic has increased quite significantly with the popularity of the area and we’ve also got a playground that’s got play pieces closer to it than we probably envisioned,” Mr Kircher said.

“I think it’s important that it happens, and it will also be important that council does approve what it looks like before it happens.”

Community consultation would take place if required.