Borrowing for trees not on
Public feeling against plans to borrow money to plant trees along Grove Rd and to make a section of Market St two-way has persuaded Marlborough District Council to hold off on the two Blenheim projects.
Councillor Terry Sloan, who holds the portfolio for the Blenheim central business district, told the full council meeting yesterday a lot of people had made comments to him after roading projects was signed off by the council's assets and services committee late last month.
The projects, including making part of Market St two-way, planting trees along Grove Rd and safety improvements at three major intersections, were to be financed by borrowing, with interest payments to be covered by flood reserve funds.
Cr Sloan said people were most concerned about the council borrowing to pay for the projects, and whether the Market St and Grove Rd projects were needed.
The proposal to two-way a section of Market St between High and Wynen streets had a lot of support from retailers in the street but a lot of objections from the community, he said.
"We should probably take this on board."
Instead of continuing with the projects, Cr Sloan suggested doing more work to find other ways to fund the tree-planting.
"It's not stopped dead in its tracks, but we should look at staging it."
Councillors agreed to look at that and referred the Grove Rd and Market St projects back to the assets and services committee for more consideration.
Mayor Alistair Sowman agreed, saying borrowing for "nice-to-haves" was the wrong message to send out.
"It goes against the council's message of fiscal prudence."
Making Market St two-way was unnecessary, he said. He had heard little comment on other projects, such as the improvements on Middle Renwick Rd, Jacksons Rd and St Leonard's Rd.
Councillors Jessica Bagge and David Dew warned against knee-jerk reactions.
Cr Bagge said the council had done extensive consultation on the plans for central Blenheim.
"We can't keep reacting every single time or we'll never get to finish with the projects - look at the pocket park."
Cr Dew said it was difficult for the council as the "antis" were very vociferous.
Deputy mayor Jenny Andrews said the Middle Renwick Rd work should be the highest priority.
- The Marlborough Express