The Dunedin Amenities Society like any organisation takes a close look at the Annual Plan of the City Council each year and usually submits on the areas that the Society has the greatest interest or concern. The Annual Plan process seems an onerous one but ultimately, it’s an important one to participate in. This year the Society has concentrated on the success of the Town Belt Traverse in 2013 with a call to the City Council to look at both the physical infrastructure and the maintenance of existing tracks to ensure that this worthy project could come to fruition. The interesting thing about the Traverse is the Town Belt Management Plan has policy already in place to actually achieve it. At this stage the Society are not looking to the City Council to immediately fund such a project, but rather to begin the process of investigation and research in to making it happen. There are definite synergies with existing footpath and cycling programmes that the Council have proposed in this area in the past.
The other area that this years submission concentrated on was the funding and management of ecological and recreational areas around the city. The Society is increasingly concerned that the standards of pest plant and animal control are being strangled in the present economic climate. This is crucial work to reduce the adverse environmental damage in areas of high ecological and conservation significance. The Society is concerned that there is a drop in the level of service and standards on many of the City’s parks and reserves. Signage, seating, rubbish bins, pathways and other physical assets appear to be deteriorating with no available capital replacement or maintenance funding for basic cleaning and repairs. This detracts and reduces the visitor and community enjoyment of our open spaces assets and needs urgent redress through appropriate funding.
Finally, the last issue raised in the Society’s submission on the Annual Plan is the provision by the City Council of $50,000 for the investigation into the development of car-parking for Moana Pool. There have been various calls for parking options at the pool complex including the development of Roberts Park for parking. This would mean the loss of open space and adjoining bush from the site. It would be preferable to see sensible and innovative design that maximizes space more appropriately. Any loss of reserve areas or recreational space is abhorrent to the Society and a high degree of caution and appropriate research needs to be undertaken before any final decision is made by the City Council over this matter.