Annual plan submission hearings begin tomorrow

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Submissions to the Waitaki District Council’s Draft Annual Plan will be considered at a meeting tomorrow, and will continue next Monday May 19.

Verbal submissions will be heard by district councillors from mid-morning tomorrow; just some of the 80 submissions received on the draft plan. All submissions have been documented and are publicly available.

Among those to speak will be a representative from the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust. The trust have put forward a number of recommendations to council including their lack of support for the closure of Harbour Street in the historic precinct to traffic.

Their submission states that there is no economic argument to support the pedestrianisation of the street and in fact it would have a ‘significant, negative impact on most businesses.”

This view is supported by the Otago Chamber of Commerce who will also make reference to the potential cost involved in making earthquake-prone buildings safe, should current government proposals go ahead.

The chamber believes that ‘practical, affordable solutions need to be found based on a proper risk analysis.’

Several verbal submissions will be made tomorrow in support of a new Arts Festival which is in the planning stages.

Tourism Waitaki Events Development Officer, Jan Kennedy, said the idea is still work in progress and will only go ahead if enough funding is sourced by July.

The planning committee has calculated that a total of $117,000 will be needed to showcase the districts’ art between mid-December 2014 and mid-January 2015. The committee’s own submission said the objective of the festival is to ‘bring the arts outside, make them visible and accessible to the widest possible audience.”

The festival will have a strong visual arts focus supported by performing and public arts content. The subbmission requests funding and general support from the Waitaki District Council.

Written submissions will be heard by the council next Monday.

By LINDA MCCARTHY