No to land purchase

Waipā District Council will not be buying land on the corner of Mutu and Mahoe Streets in Te Awamutu.

The Te Awamutu Presbyterian Church offered to sell 1000m2 of land to the council as it no longer needs the land to comply with government regulations for its new building.

Transportation programme engineer Erik Van Der Wel told the Service Delivery committee this week the council had first refusal on the land before the church went to the open market.

“The church had suggested that council could use this as public car parking space due to its proximity to the town’s main street.”
The cost to council, in addition to the purchase price, could be in excess of $400,000 to develop a car park, he said.

“There is also a known archaeology feature located on this land or in close vicinity of a colonial era 1840-1900 rubbish dump which would likely require investigations and consent to excavate adding to the cost risk of development of this site.”

Van Der Wel said while there had been calls for more car parking in the town centre, council studies indicated that parking provision in this area of Te Awamutu was under-used.

The sale of this and another block will help finance the construction of the church’s new $3.3 million regional community complex – The Gathering Place.

The new building will house a youth centre, creche, two counselling rooms, commercial kitchen, seminar room, hall with sprung flooring (meaning it could be used for indoor sport or dance), small playground and an auditorium seating 150 people.

The main St Andrew’s Presbyterian church building had stood on the site from 1960 but was demolished in October 2015 after lying unused for around 18 months. It had been classified as an earthquake risk.

The church development proposal still includes the provision of 30 car park spaces including four disabled parking space meaning the church development is unlikely to put significant pressure on existing parking, said Van Der Wal.

“Staff do not recommend purchase of the land for car parking, as the proposal is not in alignment with Council’s Te Awamutu Town Concept Plan 2010, current Transport Strategy 2010 or the draft Transport Strategy under development presently.

These strategies are looking to encourage alternate transport modes and a people centric town centre.

“This land is zoned commercial and is ideally situated for productive commercial development rather than non-productive car parking,” he said.

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