Mayor outlines big issues for 2013

SONIA BEAL
Last updated 07:27 03/01/2013
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Changes to the Marlborough Sounds management plan and the possible relocation of the interisland ferry terminal from Picton to Clifford Bay are among the big issues to contend with in 2013, says Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman.

The Environmental Protection Authority's board of inquiry decision last month to approve four of the nine proposed New Zealand King Salmon farms meant the Marlborough District Council would have to modify the Sounds' management plan, Mr Sowman said.

While it was an interim decision, the council would work with King Salmon to redefine their area of operation in the Sounds, he said.

In February, the council would discuss the Government's proposal to shift the interisland ferry terminal from Picton to Clifford Bay, south of Seddon.

While the Government was due to make an announcement about their plans in June, the council still needed to ensure they were ready for the eventual outcome. 

''We need to be prepared for the situation and what sort of an impact it will have on our province.''

Also in February, the council will begin the annual budget process. The focus would be on reining in spending and seeing through the completion of existing projects such as the Marlborough Civic Theatre in Blenheim and Picton's sewerage upgrade, Mr Sowman said.

''It will be about keeping a lid on spending. A clear message from myself and my colleagues is we haven't got excess funding so we won't be focusing on any new projects,'' he said.

However, Mr Sowman was interested in learning the results of the Marlborough Express online poll to turn Market St, in Blenheim, into a pedestrian mall.

Mr Sowman was not opposed to the idea, given there was communitynte backing for it.

''I'm not opposed to it,'' he said.

''We want a vibrant town, and that's why we did the [Liz Davidson] pocket park, even though it was quite controversial.

''It's about making the town an attractive place for tourists and for people who live here.

''Commercial developments such as the Pak'n'Save supermarket in the Westwood development were a positive sign for Marlborough's economy, Mr Sowman said.  

''It all looks positive for [this] year,'' he said.

''But council still has to keep its feet on the ground. We have to realise it's a tight budget we have to work with."

The council elections are in October. 

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- The Marlborough Express

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