Council accused of sabotaging town
Backlash over the redevelopment of Leith Place continues to raise questions with business owners as the submissions deadline draws near.
South Waikato District Council chief executive Craig Hobbs defended his stance on wanting to move Tokoroa into the future.
Accusing members of the Tokoroa Business Association of being ‘‘petty’’, Hobbs said locals needed to help change the town’s perception.
‘‘We need to do something to turn things around.’’
But manager of Noel Leeming John Ten Velde has questioned the logic behind removing car parking.
‘‘If you take away the parking spaces, businesses like Noel Leeming and Paper Plus will disappear all together.
‘‘People will start to travel to Rotorua and you’ll take five, ten, twenty million dollars away each year in return for what?’’
Objections continued from Tirau business owners who said they knew how important parking was for their customers.
A total of 456 car parks are within the Swanston St, Mannering St, Rosebery St, Bridge St and Leith Place boundary. With around 240 people on average stopping into Tokoroa a day Hobbs said suggestions to move the location of the bus stop in Bonaly St was unlikely. ‘‘They spend very, very little. We can’t control where the bus stops.’’ Accused of ‘‘sabotaging the town’s future’’, he defended the importance of unification to save Tokoroa from becoming a ‘‘zombie town’’. Hobbs said the council was working harmoniously with Pride in Putaruru and Tirau’s concept plans. ‘‘We want to work together on this. Give us your ideas on paper, they will be considered. ‘‘Now is the opportunity. We’ve got money in the bank. ‘‘My fear is in twenty, thirty years time when our kids are grown up say ‘why you didn’t do anything?’.’’ Chairman for the Tokoroa Business Association Damon Jakeman said if they weren’t proactive now in sealing the town’s future they would miss out. Submissions close on Friday April 15. Information packs can be viewed online or at the I-site.
John Ten Velde