Fountain’s future remains unclear
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.