Many views on Tongariro Domain
The Taupo¯ District Council is developing a master plan for the Tongariro Domain including space for its civic administration functions by the Great Lake Centre, plus provision for cultural, arts, and heritage facilities.
The proposal is for a cultural precinct to form a civic heart for Taupo¯, but opinions vary. We canvassed four.
The millennial: Tara-Lea Uebergang
Tara says she didn’t really know much about the plans and a cultural precinct would be nice, but she doesn’t see why the council needs to include themselves as there is nothing cultural about the council.
“I don’t think they need to spend a boat-load on a new council building, let alone re-modelling an area that has already had extensive renovations. I like the idea of locating a new council building at the Tuwharetoa St carpark.”
She found out about the consultation process from Facebook posts after last week’s public meeting. She would like to be involved in consultation and says council needs to notify people in a meaningful way.
“For instance, I have the Antenno app but didn’t receive a notification. It looks like the event was only created on Facebook a week before the meeting, and only promoted twice. If the council really wanted public opinion, and for young people to get involved in the process, then they’d make it easier.”
The business person: Catie Noble
With her Chamber of Commerce & Industry hat on, Catie Noble says they support the council administration buildings being located in the cultural precinct. She says feedback from the 183 members is that its been good for business having council staff within the town centre, as opposed to nearly one kilometre away at the Lake Terrace site.
“It’s been overwhelmingly positive to have 200 or so Council workers in town. They are having meetings, buying coffee, walking around and shopping. The cultural precinct option is a thousand times better than having those same workers located at their old premises,” says Catie.
She says it also makes really good sense to pay for the project with money from the Provincial Growth Fund.
Regarding the consultation process, Catie says that people have their own perspective of their own civic voice.
“This is our opportunity to give our town something incredible. From a business person’s perspective, it’s time to lift our gaze from head-down, bum-up, to say what we want for our children.”
The retailer: Glynn Pointon
Many of the world’s great cities have a civic centre at their heart, says Taupo¯ retailer Glynn Pointon, citing the example of Paris, where the city hall, or Hoˆtel de Ville, is right in the centre.
Glynn said while his main concerns about a future cultural precinct on the Tongariro Domain are parking and the lack of tour coach parking, by and large he supports the project.
“I’m for it if it can be proved that the parking is available.”
“My thoughts are that a very good possible option would be to rip the top off the North Domain and put underground parking there and reinstate it back to its present form. A classic example is San Francisco with Union Square, with [vehicle] access at the Boat Harbour level.”
Glynn would also like to see the buses moved off Tongariro St, saying their presence there is largely detrimental, although he’s not in favour of reducing Tongariro St to one lane in each direction. While Tongariro St is not in the scope of the cultural precinct project, Glynn says it will need to be looked at at the same time.
The retiree — Ian Walker
“I’m not against the development on the Domain,” says Taupo¯ resident Ian Walker. “The only thing I’m against is the placement of a workplace that has 150 to 160 employees. That’s pretty massive office and the undoubted problems of carparking that would come with it.”
Mr Walker, who has taken a close interest in the council building issue, says he doesn’t have any objection to what he calls sensible management of the Domain, with proper consultation with the community.
“The sole objection is [a council administration building] comes very close to being a commercial building on a recreational domain and the Crown specified recreation. It’s a recreational domain.”
He thinks if the police station and court house could have been shifted off when there was an opportunity about a decade ago — although the Crown wasn’t interested in finding new sites for either building — that would have opened the Domain up for more recreational space. He also doesn’t see any need for the Taupo¯ Bowls Club to be moved off.
Mr Walker says he’s hearing a lot of anger around the issue and people feel that whatever their views the council will forge ahead with whatever it wants to do.
Tara-Lea Uebergang, 30, web developer.
Catie Noble, 39, local business owner and Taupo¯ Chamber of Commerce & Industry Inc chair.
Ian Walker has closely followed the discussions around the former council building and the options for a new one.