Harbourside walkway gap to be filled

By John Cousins

The big missing link is to be filled along the network of harbourside walkways fronting Matua and Otumoetai.

A walkway/cycleway will be built on top of a rock sea wall planned to be built later this year to protect Otumoetai's Beach Rd east from storm surges.

It means people will no longer have to negotiate the narrow harbourfront strip of Beach Rd from Otumoetai Rd to Kulim Park that sometimes brought them into conflict with cars.

The council has agreed to fund its $140,000 share of the New Zealand Transport Agency subsidised road protection project. The loan will have no impact on rates.

In other news from yesterday's meeting to decide funding priorities for 2013-14, the council axed $45,000 of rates-funded legal fees linked with the extra work caused by the 2012 Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act.

Mayor Stuart Crosby said if the legislation restricted the ability of the council to recover fair and reasonable costs from liquor licensees, then he would be "more than annoyed".

Councillors were told there was a big unknown around how the fee structure associated with the legislation would be rolled out by the Government this year.

"This is the stupidity of the whole thing," Mr Crosby said.

He successfully argued that because it was an issue Tauranga had in common with the rest of the country's councils, there should be one legal opinion from Local Government New Zealand.

The council also agreed to axe a proposed $150,000 late addition to rates after it disputed a staff assumption that the council would be left holding extra costs when it re-tendered its cleaning contract.

It was revealed the current contractor's 2010 tender had been $1 million lower than the next bid and Transpacific Industries had decided to end its contract on June 30 rather than take the option of a two-year extension. A report to the council said the contractor's price appeared to be unsustainable.

However, Mr Crosby opposed signalling to the market the council was putting aside extra cash in anticipation of a big increase in tender prices. It was agreed to remove the $150,000 from budgets and see what came back from the tender process.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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