Foun­tain’s fu­ture re­mains un­clear

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - LAWRENCE GULLERY

The Petersen fam­ily and the Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil con­tinue to search for a res­o­lu­tion over the fu­ture of the Peter Petersen water foun­tain.

It ap­pears the fam­ily is strug­gling to ar­rive at a con­sen­sus over what has be­come a very public, com­pli­cated and con­vo­luted se­ries of events since coun­cil an­nounced a ‘‘pro­posal’’ to re­move the foun­tain as part of its plans to re­de­velop the Mata­mata Civic Cen­tre.

The coun­cil has con­tested last


week’s front page story on the foun­tain in the Chron­i­cle, re­ject­ing a se­ries of points made in the ar­ti­cle.

The coun­cil re­sponse said at no stage did the staff in­form the coun­cil, that it had the bless­ing of Petersen’s de­scen­dents to re­move the water fea­ture.

The coun­cil said it had not been served with a court in­junc­tion to stop it from re­mov­ing the foun­tain.

It said there was no men­tion in the Petersen be­quest of main­te­nance of the water fea­ture. None of the coun­cil records from the time in­di­cate any part of the be­quest was set aside for this pur­pose, the coun­cil said.

Coun­cil said it did not dis­cuss the pro­posal of re­plac­ing the foun­tain with a meet­ing room or the sit­ing of the pro­posed plaque. A dis­cus­sion took place with the fam­ily on Fe­bru­ary 23, where they and their sup­port­ers made that sug­ges­tion.

‘‘Coun­cil agreed at that meet­ing to the fam­ily’s re­quest to seek public feed­back on the de­ci­sion.’’

The Chron­i­cle is happy to re­port the coun­cil’s view. We could go through and list re­but­tals for all of the points above but that would not help bring this is­sue to res­o­lu­tion.

Last week’s story was writ­ten to gen­er­ate de­bate, and let peo­ple have their say, that is the role of a com­mu­nity news­pa­per. What has made this a dif­fi­cult story to re­port on is the fact there has been no clear spokesper­son or lead­er­ship on the mat­ter. There are mul­ti­ple or­gan­i­sa­tions/peo­ple in­volved and some very un­help­ful posts on Face­book.

Mata­mata-Pi­ako Mayor Jan Barnes has shoul­dered most of the re­spon­si­bil­ity on be­half of the coun­cil and has been the re­cip­i­ent of some nasty com­ments via on­line plat­forms and per­son­ally.

She is worried about the cost to ratepay­ers to fix the foun­tain, its on­go­ing main­te­nance as well as its suit­abil­ity out­side a ma­jor, mod­ern public meet­ing space. She has said in the end the public will have a big­ger say in a de­ci­sion over the fu­ture of the foun­tain, but it is the coun­cil that will make the fi­nal de­ci­sion.

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