Park the plan: Holt

Debate continues over a proposed concept plan for Te Awamutu’s War Memorial Park. Photo: Mary Anne Gill.

Community board leader Ange Holt has called for planned changes at Te Awamutu’s Memorial Park to be put on hold.

Her call was made in a report to the Te Awamutu-Kihikihi Community Board meeting last night (Wednesday), held after The News went to press.

Holt has consistently expressed concerns about Waipā District Council’s concept plan to refresh the park – even though it was approved by council two years ago.

In her chairperson’s report, Holt called for work to stop, saying she had not spoken to anyone who supported it.

The staff report in the agenda unpicked her comments, describing one part as “disingenuous”, and questioning her accuracy in others.

It’s not the first time Holt and council staff have been at odds in public over the park plan first tabled in 2021 – her monthly column in The News in July drew complaints from staff, and she ultimately acknowledged some errors.

“The strongest views,” Holt said in her report, “…are to maintain what is there and make some improvements that do not destroy the existing memorial stonework.

“I have approached a number of the service organisations and the overall message coming through is… do not make these changes to the park.”

Ange Holt

She called for a review, asking that stakeholders be consulted.

Council staff acknowledged there were different views about the concept plan for War Memorial Park.

“But it is disingenuous to suggest ‘no-one’ supports modernising the park, as reported by the chair,” the staff report said.

“The concept plan was originally developed with mana whenua partners, Ngāti Apakura, Ngāti Ngāwaero, Maniapoto Trust Board and Waikato-Tainui – and with key stakeholders,” staff went on to say.

Consultation on the concept plan saw 517 pieces of feedback received.

“…based on the comments received, the concept plan was changed significantly to retain and restore all the original memorial features, and to ensure an improved park maintenance regime,” the staff report said.

The report said there was no intention to destroy the existing memorial stonework and it was wrong to suggest the duck pond would be removed.

“Council seeks to address the water quality issue by reducing the size of the pond, not removing it – and creating a wetland environment to filter water before it enters the Mangaohoi stream.”

The staff report said this will create a “bigger area” for picnicking and events, and restore the puna, or natural springs.


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There has been vocal opposition to removing the Memorial Park pond.

 

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