Cromwell hall de­ci­sion di­vides votes


The peo­ple spoke and the board lis­tened - de­spite an un­ex­pected new-build op­tion be­ing tabled, di­vid­ing votes.

Cromwell Com­mu­nity Board chair­man Neil Gille­spie was forced to use his cast­ing vote to progress the $5.34 mil­lion re­de­vel­op­ment of the me­mo­rial hall af­ter board mem­ber Robin Dicey in­tro­duced an ‘‘Op­tion 3’’ into the mix, in­volv­ing a com­plete re­build.

Gille­spie, Nigel McKin­lay and Anna Har­ri­son voted in favour of pro­gress­ing with the up­grade of the hall, while Robin Dicey, Annabel Blaikie and Shirley Calvert voted against the mo­tion. Werner Mur­ray ab­stained

In June, 2016, the pre­vi­ous board voted in favour of adopt­ing de­tailed de­sign plans. In De­cem­ber, the newly-elected board de­cided not to ac­cept a ten­der be­cause of con­cerns about the de­sign, scope and cost of the project.

The move sparked a pub­lic pe­ti­tion, signed by nearly 900 peo­ple, show­ing sup­port for the board to pro­ceed with the up­grade of the hall.

On Fri­day, Dicey pre­sented an al­ter­na­tive op­tion to board mem­bers, in­volv­ing a pri­vate con­struc­tion com­pany will­ing to pro­duce con­cept plans of a re­build for free at a sim­i­lar cost and twice the size. He pro­posed a pe­riod of 12 weeks for the board to con­sider all rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion.

‘‘There is noth­ing to lose and a huge amount to gain. To ask this board to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for what has gone be­fore when we weren’t even there...sim­ply be­cause we are now scared of another op­tion...We can do it, it has been done.’’

Huck­le­bridge said while de­liv­er­ing the pe­ti­tion a new board should not be able to over­ride de­ci­sions made by a pre­vi­ous board just to ‘‘put their own


‘‘In the words of so many peo­ple who is time to get on with it’’

stamp on pol­icy al­ready de­cided’’.

‘‘You, the mem­bers of the board, were elected by the res­i­dents and ratepay­ers to look af­ter their town - it is not your town...It is an im­por­tant part of their past as well as their fu­ture and it is time for you to ac­knowl­edge that and move for­ward.’’

The hall had reached a stage it was barely fit for pur­pose and was re­ceiv­ing min­i­mal book­ings be­cause of its con­di­tion.

‘‘The pre­vi­ous board could see this need and gave it the pri­or­ity it badly re­quired...In the words of so many peo­ple who is time to get on with it.’’


He­len Huck­le­bridge de­liv­ers a pe­ti­tion signed by nearly 900 peo­ple.


De­sign plans for a ren­o­vated Cromwell Me­mo­rial Hall.

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