Debate over the concept plan for Te Awamutu’s Memorial Park approved two years ago this month continues.
Te Awamutu-Kihikihi Community Board chair Ange Holt told staff last week there was dispute over what was ‘war memorial’ and what was not.
She has previously indicated a lack of comfort over the plan and was told at a meeting last week the pond at the park had not been identified as a heritage feature.
Holt took issue with a staff report which said the plan met the requirements of the Reserve Act – arguing the park lake and stonework – which would disappear – were part of the memorial the council was charged with maintaining.
It was put to Community Services manager Brad Ward by board member John Wood that it would be better to “leave the thing as it is”.
Ward said he would not relitigate the plan itself – it had already been approved.
“All we are focussing on here is the components of the Reserve Act and clarifying points raised about next of kin and stakeholders.”
Holt said the problem with identifying what was ‘war memorial’ and was not kept coming up and she wanted it clarified.
She said the report did confirm that Yarndley’s Paddock was part of the park, and that needed to be communicated.
Resident Peter Fletcher, who spoke at the March meeting, told the meeting the entire park was dedicated solely as a World War 2 memorial and “every feature in the park including the lake is part of the park”.
He said under a 1955 agreement “all you have permission to do is to maintain it – nothing else – you have no right to remove anything. It has been subsidised. The lake stays – it’s a simple absolute fact”.
Holt said she wanted further legal clarification over how the act applies to “how we manage that piece of land”.
The report tabled at the board meeting last week said plans for the park met obligations towards a Government subsidy scheme that partially funded its establishment.
“Documents provided by members of public show that in order for a successful application for funding to establish a memorial under the [Government’s War Memorial Subsidy] Scheme, it needed to demonstrate provision was made for the perpetual maintenance of the memorial, and that the “centre” (in this case, the Reserve) was for the use of all sections of the community,” the report read.
The concept plan provided for the maintenance of the memorial “in situ, but also results in the reserve being more inclusive of all sections of the community by now including acknowledgement of the pre-European history of the site, especially archaeological features such as Kaipaka Pā and the pā tuna, (spring) to include our mana whenua community”.
Given that, no concerns had been identified relating to the recommendations, the report said.
But the community board backed Holt’s motion seeking more legal information on what could and could not be done.