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‘‘There is an opinion that possibly the February resolution, or at least part of, should have been revoked prior to the April resolution taking effect.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