Residents' suggestions for council plan

It wasn't just dogs that were up for discussion at the Timaru District Council chambers yesterday.

Councillors spent the day assessing the 53 submissions to the council's draft annual plan, and they certainly had a variety of suggestions to contend with.

Although support for a dog park in Timaru was the most popular topic - with 15 submissions - it wasn't the only thing on ratepayers' minds.

Some requests were outside the council's scope. Councillors acknowledged Andrew Young's suggestion that the council investigate the feasibility of electrified fast-rail between Timaru and Christchurch, but felt it was best dealt with by central government.

They also decided to merely "acknowledge" the submission of Democrats for Social Credit, which asked the council to consider stopping fluoridation and demanded "complete transparency".

Other submissions received a more definite response. Councillors agreed they should examine whether the pricing descriptions for consent fees were suitably transparent, after residents Jim Hopa and George Hunter expressed concern the council was "hiding" certain costs.

The councillors also agreed to look into extending free entry to the CBay Aquatic Centre next year. People aged over 80 now qualify for free entry. The South Canterbury branch of the National Council of Women has asked that this be extended to people aged 75 and over.

However, council community services manager Sharon Matson urged caution, as there were already 140 registered free users and, with Timaru's ageing population, increasing those eligible for a free swim could pass on even more costs to ratepayers.

Former councillor Terry Kennedy provided one of the longer submissions. He was particularly concerned about the Theatre Royal "missing out" on some of the bigger productions going to the Ashburton Events Centre and the Oamaru Opera House.

The shortest submission belonged to Russell Scobie, who provided it late and did not speak to it. "Slippery tiles. Dogs in towns. Height of trees. Dont want any of them."

The Timaru Herald