Some Milton area residents and retailers are concerned about a proposed upgrade to the town’s main street.
Semi-retired Waihola farmer John Galloway said he and several older friends became concerned about the multi-million-dollar plans after reading details in the April 8 Clutha Leader.
The project forms a key element of the Clutha District Council’s long-term plan document for 2021-31, submissions for which ended on Tuesday.
The plan presented three options for the upgrade, costing between $2 million and $5 million. They include improvements to footpaths, pedestrian crossings, plantings and signage, and the routing of power lines underground.
However, Mr Galloway and others said they were concerned both about project costs for ratepayers, and the impact trees might have on the town’s main street — State Highway 1.
‘‘Of the two mock-up pictures supplied by council, those I have spoken to would much prefer ‘before’, as you retain Milton’s wide and distant views, adequate parking, and visibility of shop signage.
‘‘The ‘after’ picture doesn’t show approaching heavy traffic, or the poor visibility for pedestrians trying to cross the road.’’
He would have liked the council to include a further, fourth option for ratepayers, of ‘‘no change’’, Mr Galloway said.
‘‘In the ‘before’ ratepayers are smiling with $2 million to $5 million still in their pockets. ‘After’ $2 million to $5 million gone, plus perhaps interest and price blowouts.’’
Milton retailers contacted by the Clutha Leader echoed Mr Galloway’s concerns about landscaping, but were in favour of the upgrade in principle.
Framing Plus owner Chris McDonald said a delegation of main street retailers met last week with council representatives and streetscape designer Brooke Mitchell, of Rough & Milne Landscape Architects Christchurch, to discuss their concerns and provide ‘‘constructive feedback’’.
The meeting was ‘‘positive’’, and had gone some way towards allaying anxiety, Mr McDonald said.
‘‘Having talked through proposals and possibilities in a bit more detail, I’ve been reassured about retaining parking — which is vital to main street businesses here — and that any trees will be placed appropriately with due regard to safety, masking of signage and amenity value.
‘‘We’ve also added some ideas and suggestions of our own, which we feel the designer and council have heard, but we’ll look forward to reviewing final concept plans as they come out.’’
Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan said consultation on the upgrade had been exhaustive.
‘‘Once we’ve reviewed longterm plan submissions and made a final decision, we’re into action. I can’t say precisely when residents will see the transformation begin, but it’s safe to say it’s now imminent.’’