Com­mu­nity di­vided on hall

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

‘‘I think we are set­ting our­selves up to fail and fail badly.’’

The Cen­tral Otago District Coun­cil’s chief ex­ec­u­tive is seek­ing le­gal ad­vice over a com­mu­nity board’s de­ci­sion to over­turn a res­o­lu­tion to re­fur­bish Cromwell’s Me­mo­rial Hall.

Leanne Mash is pre­par­ing a report for the Cromwell Com­mu­nity Board in­ves­ti­gat­ing a pos­si­ble con­flict aris­ing from the board’s ac­tions at its meet­ing last Tues­day. The board passed a res­o­lu­tion in Fe­bru­ary to re­fur­bish the hall. How­ever, on Tues­day, a no­tice of motion was passed by four votes to three to halt work while the coun­cil com­mis­sioned a report to es­tab­lish costs of three op­tions for new builds for the hall.

‘‘Of­fi­cers have be­gun to ex­e­cute the Fe­bru­ary res­o­lu­tions, so the ques­tion is a pro­ce­dural/ op­er­a­tional one around can both sets of res­o­lu­tions co-ex­ist and be ac­tioned, when on read­ing there may be an in­ter­pre­ta­tion that says they con­flict, Mash said.

‘‘There is an opin­ion that pos­si­bly the Fe­bru­ary res­o­lu­tion, or at least part of, should have been re­voked prior to the April res­o­lu­tion tak­ing ef­fect.

‘‘As such I have sought le­gal ad­vice on this mat­ter, and it is that in­formed opin­ion that will be the ba­sis of a report to the Cromwell Com­mu­nity Board.’’

Board chair Neil Gille­spie said at the meet­ing the no­tice of motion was a ‘‘first’’ and he had a ‘‘ma­jor prob­lem’’ with where the motion took the board.

‘‘I think we are set­ting our­selves up to fail and fail badly. We have no idea of cost, how long it is go­ing to take. If you are miss­ing those two things - es­sen­tial to the de­ci­sion mak­ing process - I don’t think it is good gov­er­nance. I don’t think it is good gov­er­nance to turn around and now re­ject the ex­ten­sive com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion that has been un­der­taken to get us the fi­nal pro­posal and de­sign plan.’’

Board mem­ber Robin Dicey ar­gued the motion was ‘‘ex­actly the right thing to do’’.

‘‘I do be­lieve we owe it to them (ratepay­ers) to do the very best we can.’’

Dicey put the motion for­ward be­cause he was con­cerned about the cost of the re fur­bish­ment. A new build was un­likely to in­cur cost over-runs. By re­fur­bish­ing, op­por­tu­ni­ties for the site would be lost - in­clud­ing a lake view. A new build would be bet­ter suited to a growing town, he said.

Gille­spie said noth­ing had come out since that had given him any ‘‘inkling’’ there was a need to make changes ‘‘what­so­ever’’.

❚ Com­mu­nity reaction, page 3.

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