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.’’