SDC invites feedback on public spaces

The Southland District Council is looking at how it will manage 1250 hectares of reserves, parks, sportsfields and playgrounds for the next 10 years.

The council released its draft Open Spaces Strategy 2014-2024 this week and is encouraging people to have their say on what they want in the district, now and in the future.

The strategy says the district's population was changing, which would impact on how much, what type and where the council needed to provide public open spaces in the future.

"We may also need to change the way in which we design, manage and maintain our public open spaces to suit the future needs and preferences of our communities," the strategy says.

However, it does not propose any changes to the council's open spaces, which include undeveloped natural areas, parks, esplanades, reserves, gardens, sportsfields, playgrounds, public art and recreational areas.

Council policy analyst Henrietta McNeill said the final strategy would also not include recommendations about the closure, retention or upgrade of the council's open spaces.

Any specific changes proposed by the public would be discussed by the council, she said.

The strategy would instead ensure the council had one way of looking at all its open spaces.

McNeill said people could provide feedback about "literally anything" to do with the council's open spaces.

"They can talk about cycleways, playgrounds, BMX tracks. They might want more public art."

Southland District Mayor Gary Tong said this was the community's opportunity to tell the council anything it wanted in relation to a particular open space.

He said there were no plans to sell any open space.

People have until September 12 to provide feedback to the council.

The Southland Times