Town forgotten by council, locals say

Clinton locals Fraser Leslie (left) and Benji Perry are frustrated with the Clutha District Council after they feel it is not doing their job through the community plan. PHOTO: EVELYN THORN

Clinton is a ‘‘forgotten town’’ when it comes to community plans made with the Clutha District Council, some residents say.

They are ‘‘unhappy’’ with the consultation processes for the Our Place Clinton Community Plan.

Clinton residents Fraser Leslie and Benji Perry expressed ‘‘sheer frustration’’ at what they called ‘‘gaslighting’’ by the Clutha District Council over proposed upgrades to Clinton.

The town in its present state ‘‘looked like absolute crap’’, Mr Leslie said.

‘‘We are quite possibly the only town that has open ditches with no footpaths. It’s embarrassing.

‘‘There are little things which we feel the council is ignoring but giving to other towns.

‘‘The residents who are unhappy are not asking for a $28 million hall, an overpriced swimming pool or destination toilets.

‘‘We’re just pleading for the basics to be done, like kerbing and channelling on residential streets, and looking after flower gardens, which are the council’s responsibility.

‘‘We have put in so many requests in the Antenno app and we have not heard responses from the council, but if we have received them, they just shift blame and responsibility back to us, or elsewhere.

‘‘We’re a forgotten town. Nearly every time anything gets fixed or improved it’s by our community groups without council assistance.

‘‘It’s unfair compared to other towns who receive better treatment and may not need it urgently.

‘‘I’ve sent requests and emails through to the help desk email at the council as far back as August and further with no response.’’

Clinton resident Katrina Goodman added it was ‘‘utterly ridiculous’’ how the council had ‘‘promised one thing, then done another’’.

‘‘I am personally getting old and tired of it.

‘‘I’m the president of the Clinton Senior Citizens Club and one thing they want is footpaths, which we’ve been asking for for more than 15 years.

‘‘We are getting sick of asking.

‘‘We shouldn’t be getting sick of asking for a little improvement in our town.’’

Council group manager of service delivery Jules Witt responded last week.

‘‘Main street improvements was highlighted as one of the key projects in the Our Place Clinton Community Plan,’’ Mr Witt said.

‘‘This plan was developed based on the feedback received from various community consultation events in 2023.

‘‘Council has made it very clear during all the community planning processes throughout the district that projects can generally proceed where financially the project is rates-neutral, but where a project would be seeking additional council funding, it would go through a due process for consultation.

‘‘We invite people to take part in the consultation of the long-term plan in early 2024 to highlight ideas for improvements to Clinton’s Main Rd.

‘‘Council’s current funding mechanism for new kerbing and channelling to replace the open drains is that it is fully funded by the Clinton community and would need to be in discussions with Waka Kotahi [which owns and manages them],’’ he said.