Friday, 14 January 2011

OPINION: How hard can it be?

by Peter Dowden

The Southern Scenic Route is a tourist highway linking Te Anau and
Dunedin via Fiordland, Invercargill and The Catlins.

In June 2007 the Otago Natural History Trust, in announcing
the site for the Orokonui Ecosanctuary Visitor Centre, chose Blueskin
Rd, because (as Ralph Allen from the Trust told Blueskin News at the
time) it was "... on a road that is likely to become part of the
Southern Scenic Route, with relatively slow-moving traffic that will
be able to see the Visitor Centre and stop to investigate."

In November 2007, Don Hill, then transportation planning manager for
the Dunedin City Council, told Blueskin News, "We are planning to talk
to Waitaki District about extending the Southern Scenic route from
Dunedin to Oamaru. It is envisaged Blueskin Road would be part of this
route."

Extending the Southern Scenic Route along back roads north of Dunedin
would have so many benefits that it is simply astounding the
Dunedin City Council has made so little progress in the ensuing three
years. Port Chalmers would gain more visitors to its burgeoning
antiques and craft shops; newly opened accommodation businesses along
Coast Rd could benefit; the future of Karitane's shop could be
ensured. Places presently without retail services, such as Warrington,
could open cafes or gift shops.

Promoters of the original Southern Scenic Route became so frustrated
by the slow progress from their local government that in the end they went
out and put up signs themselves. We shouldn't need to go that far: we
are fortunate here on the Coast that for the past several years our
local councillor, Andrew Noone, has also chaired the council's
infrastructure committee. This places him right in the driver's seat
of this issue. If Andrew really wants this route extension to happen,
it will happen. How hard can it be, Andrew?

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