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Railway bridge area to get furniture, drinking fountain, exit platform

A “sensible decision” on bridge jumping, which will save Gisborne District Council spending thousands of dollars, won the unanimous support of councillors at the Future Tairawhiti committee meeting.

Instead of spending $100,000 of capital expenditure on developments, including a jumping platform at the railway bridge, the council has budgeted $15,000 for year one of the 2018/2028 Long Term Plan.

The money will go towards outdoor furniture, a drinking fountain and a water exit platform.

The committee, made up of the full council, adopted the staff recommendations after being told that the use of Maori wardens and City Watch had helped to draw some jumpers away from the port area, which was more dangerous.

All councillors were in favour of the proposal, with some queries on where the money saved would go.

Graeme Thomson said the $85,000 saved should go back into the annual plan to save rates.

Pat Seymour said it needed to be returned to the capital expenditure budget.

Chief financial officer Pauline Foreman said the council would review and adjust a number of costs, including this project, so that it aligned with the final 2018-28 long-term plan.

The draft long-term plan’s $100,000 project would be adjusted to $15,000.

Depreciation and interest from the old $100,000 projected would be replaced with the new operational costs.

Mayor Meng Foon said the total savings over the Long Term Plan represented a saving of $850,000. Even if the council spent millions, there would still be bridge jumpers.

All other comments were also positive.

Meredith Akuhata-Brown said this sent a clear and positive message to young people.

Rehette Stoltz asked if the small amount would fit into tourism funding.

Strategic planning manager Yvette Kinsella said there were a number of funds that could potentially be interested.

A 'good solution' for bridge jumpersShannon Dowsing said there was a diving platform at the Olympic Pool and the council did not need to duplicate that at the railway bridge, which was the safest option for jumping.

Brian Wilson said the council had been talking about this for years and at one stage considered paying lifeguards.

People were still jumping off the other two bridges. It was part of being young and a bit rebellious. This recommendation was a good solution.

Josh Wharehinga said the Maori wardens and City Watch had helped to get jumpers to come away from the boat ramp.

Andy Cranston said this would serve a dual function with the walkway/cycleway.

Karen Fenn said the council was “letting kids be kids.”

Gisborne District Council is to spend $15,000 on enhancing the area near the railway bridge, which is a popular bridge-jumping spot. Money will go towards outdoor furniture, a drinking fountain and an exit platform from the water. File picture