Councillors clash over funding Modeller's Pond cleanup

KATE DAVIDSON
Last updated 15:16 03/03/2014
Tahunanui modellers' pond
ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ

MONEY PIT: Resolving the ongoing issues with the Tahunanui modellers' pond could come with a hefty price tag.

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A proposed $500,000 cleanup of the Modeller's Pond in Tahunanui remains in the Nelson City Council annual plan despite a councillor's suggestion that the problem-plagued pond should be filled in.

The council met on Thursday to agree on proposals for the 2014-15 plan, which will be finalised on March 27 before it goes out for public consultation the next day.

Councillor Matt Lawrey was against the proposed $500,000 to fix the Modeller's Pond as he said no-one had managed to save the pond in the last 27 years.

After talking to members of the community he thought the council should propose filling in the pond for a cheaper cost.

But Deputy Mayor Paul Matheson said "all hell would break loose" if that was suggested. "Keep your hands off Tahunanui or you'll have to answer to me," he told the table.

Councillors decided to stay with the original proposal and review it once feedback from the community had been heard.

In other discussions, councillor Pete Rainey challenged the arts community to come forward with comment and ideas about a proposed $125,000 fund for arts projects.

Council staff recommended cutting the funding because previous years' funds had not been used as projects could not be found to spend the money on.

"I would just like to see people comment on this," he said. "This is good opportunity for a bit of community input."

Mayor Rachel Reese said Stoke would receive some "needed attention" in the plan.

A needs analysis was already under way to investigate a community and sports facility at Greenmeadows and the council proposed putting $200,000 towards this in the next financial year.

A total of $150,000 was earmarked for strengthening and refurbishing the School of Music.

Ms Reese said the School of Music was an important part of the region's and the nation's history. The Theatre Royal, which had already received funding in the plan last year, could also receive increased funding in the next annual plan.

Ms Reese said both these institutions were important assets to Nelson and the community.

Councillor Brian McGurk said the council's "rainy day" disaster recovery fund needed some attention, which had been depleted with rain and flood events over the last couple of years. The fund could receive a top-up of $500,000 on an already proposed $1.3m.

"We are putting $1.3m into it for the next financial year. I think the councillors looked at that and said we think the additional $500,000 that we were putting in was a fair amount of contribution from the ratepayers next year," said Ms Reese.

She said the council was trying to find the right balance for ratepayers while also looking at other possible revenue such as dividends to boost the fund.

"I would like to say we won't need to call in that fund until year nine in the plan [when the fund will start accumulating again] but we have to recognise the unpredictability of disaster events," she said.

The draft plan would be written into in the draft document before it goes back to the council for discussion and agreement.

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Other proposals:

The planned Halifax St cycle lane would be dropped for other cycling projects, as council staff advised better cycle lanes could be designed and subsidised by the NZ Transport Agency.

$100,000 put towards designing and replacing the pipeline from the water treatment plant to Westbrook Terrace, which was seen as a priority by the council.

$100,000 was proposed to complete flood protection at Orphanage Stream in Stoke.

The marina could receive $50 000 for upkeep, but this would not be taken from rates as the marina was self-funding.

$10,000 was proposed for World World I commemorations.

$100,000 for a review of what properties the council owns and $538,800 was proposed for council owned buildings and earthquake remediation work.

$400,000 to improve the Maitai River.

The Church St project giving better pedestrian access to Montgomery Square should not be included in the next draft annual plan.

Charges for resource consents could be going up from $140 per hour to $145 per hour.

- Nelson

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