Centre project in pricing stages
The final negotiations to build the new $6m Matamata Civic and Memorial Centre are nearing completion but unease remains among some ratepayers and community leaders.
Matamata-Piako District councillor Brian Hunter said the council was now in the pricing stages of the development and it was hoped to be completed ‘‘fairly soon’’.
‘‘We are working on weather we can fit the pricing into our budget, we are close but not at sign-off yet.’’
Hunter acknowledged there were still some people unhappy about the new civic centre plans, as well as the planned demolition of the current civic buildings.
‘‘With most issues there have been people for it, and people against however council went to the public to get their opinion a few years ago and the general feeling was we should replace the buildings.
‘‘We’ve had the plans done, and then we went way and tweaked them. The plans are out there now, it’s a public document for people to see.’’
Former Matamata mayor Don Stanley said he had not looked at the plans ‘‘in any depth’’ but thought demolition of the current civic centre and hall buildings was ‘‘fundamentally wrong’’.
‘‘I think what council is proposing is the demolition of two perfectly good buildings to provide for something that it not much better.
‘‘The memorial centre’s structure is sound and needs some strengthening to meet present-day standards. A rebuild with some improvements would be cheaper than $6m.’’
Stanley was on council from 1962-1989 and was mayor for one term. He said the re-development plans should also consider the provision for a sports stadium in Matamata.
‘‘The requirement of both facilities should be looked at together, to make sure they are not duplicated.’’
On the sports stadium issue, Cr Hunter said a new events centre in Te Aroha was about to open but there were no plans to advance a similar project, by the council at least, in Matamata.
That work, he said, was still being led by Matamata Futures.
‘‘It’s not part of the council’s brief but we may be involved, or may not, I don’t know.
‘‘It would be nice to see that progressing though, it has been on the back-burner for some time.’’
Preliminary designs for Matamata-Piako Civic and Memorial Centre, showing a view into the main entrance.