Grand de­signs not nec­es­sary


The Kaik­oura District Coun­cil is press­ing ahead with plans for a new civic cen­tre to house the li­brary, mu­seum and coun­cil of­fices, de­spite a num­ber of sub­mis­sions to the Long Term Plan ask­ing the coun­cil to rein in spend­ing.

On top of that, the pro­posed $4.4 mil­lion pro­ject is un­likely to go be­fore the pub­lic for com­ment, a fac­tor which has un­set­tled some ratepay­ers.

The coun­cil’s pro­posed large cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture projects made the head­lines last week, with Fed­er­ated Farm­ers the most vo­cal group in op­po­si­tion to ex­tra coun­cil spend­ing.

With a re­quest for fund­ing from the health sec­tor to en­able the in­te­grated health fa­cil­ity to get off the ground, the coun­cil had three large projects on the ta­ble last week, and re­ceived a num­ber of sub­mis­sions from the pub­lic re­gard­ing all three.

While the coun­cil con­ceded the hos­pi­tal would need to take pri­or­ity over the aquatic cen­tre, it re­mained stead­fast in its plans to con­tinue with a new build­ing to house the coun­cil of­fices, the li­brary and the mu­seum.

The pro­ject is go­ing through the re­source ap­pli­ca­tion process, and is un­likely to re­quire pub­lic no­ti­fi­ca­tion, a bone of con­tention among many in the com­mu­nity who are op­posed to the pro­ject.

Some res­i­dents feel it is too much of a com­mit­ment in the cur­rent eco­nomic cli­mate, and say other less ex­pen­sive op­tions should be ex­plored, in­clud­ing leav­ing the ex­ist­ing li­brary build­ing in­tact and mov­ing the mu­seum to the for­mer Pyne Gould Guin­ness build­ing a few doors down.

How­ever, coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Stu­art Grant said this had never been con­sid­ered as the even­tual plans for the build­ing had al­ways been to send the bull­doz­ers in.

Legally, the coun­cil is not obliged to pub­licly no­tify the pro­ject, but many res­i­dents be­lieve there is a moral obli­ga­tion to do so, while some are go­ing as far as sug­gest­ing the aquatic cen­tre is be­ing used as a smoke­screen to get the civic cen­tre past the pub­lic eye.

Kathie Roberts told the coun­cil dur­ing last Mon­day’s sub­mis­sion hear­ings that she felt the aquatic cen­tre pro­posal had been a de­lib­er­ate at­tempt to dis­tract at­ten­tion from the civic build­ing.

Mrs Roberts said hav­ing looked through the sub­mis­sions it was clear what the com­mu­nity’s view was on the pro­posal.

‘‘ They can’t say peo­ple are be­hind it af­ter read­ing the sub­mis­sions.’’

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