Petersen fountain removed
Next year the new MatamataPiako Civic and Memorial Centre will open, without a water feature.
After lengthy consultation Matamata-Piako District Council and the Petersen family have come to an agreement to remove the water feature, bequeathed to the community by Peter (Pete) George Petersen, who served during World War II.
Workers moved in to remove the fountain on Tuesday morning.
Peter Petersen’s memory and his gift to Matamata will be commemorated with a room named after him in the new centre, as well as a plaque.
Earlier this year council came under fire after it was discovered it had not consulted with the Petersen family before making the decision to remove the fountain.
Matamata-Piako Mayor Jan Barnes said there was a communication error between the Petersen family and the council.
She said there was never any intention to offend Peter Petersen’s memory.
Following community feedback, earlier this year, the council decided to review the removal of the fountain, and had an independent report completed on the fountain.
The report revealed that it would require significant funding to repair, as well as additional funding each year to maintain.
Following this report further discussions were held with the Petersen family and with the family’s agreement the council confirmed the fountain would be removed.
The family also released a statement which confirmed their agreement with the council.
Barnes said she understood it was a sensitive matter for relatives of Peter Petersen, who bequeathed the water feature to the people of Matamata.
‘‘The Petersen family vented their frustration, and we listened. Then we waited till they came back to us in August.
‘‘We needed to progress it, because we have a build under way. We were patient. We are very grateful that the family were willing to work with us.’’
Barnes said she was pleased the family understood the council’s position.
‘‘It was built for the day and gratefully accepted as a gift, but you have to look at what’s best for the future.’’
Barnes admitted the council ‘‘could have done it better’’, but protecting ratepayers was the priority.
‘‘There was never any intention to offend anyone, Mr Petersen’s memory, or the family.
‘‘We are now looking forward to completing this project and providing a library, meeting space and office facility that meets the changing needs of our community.’’