Council has revoked the resolution adopted at the last Council meeting to spend an additional $852,000 on the plan to upgrade the Tokoroa CBD and iconic i-SITE building. The issue was robustly debated for a second time in an open public meeting on Thursday 29 November.
A Notice of Motion was provided to bring the decision back to Council for further discussion.
Each Councillor spoke at the meeting. A new resolution was passed to only continue with some of the civil works and review the use of the plaza area in the north eastern part of the proposed Leith Place development. The i-SITE building will not proceed and the plaza area in the short term will be grassed until the use of the space is determined. It is likely that new toilets and a space that can be enjoyed by locals and visitors can be developed.
It is our intention to provide a wow factor in this area to encourage people to stop and use the space. What this looks like has yet to be decided. The current toilets will remain in the short term while these decisions are being made.
This resolution was passed five votes to three. Two Councillors were absent for the meeting.
Robust debate and differing viewpoints were put forward, including being bold in putting Tokoroa on the map, developing a wow factor that will attract passing traffic, escalating costs, the significant number of other projects to be undertaken in the district, mindfulness of rising rate costs, our community demographic and other rate impacts.
"I am concerned about the rate costs facing our community at this current time," said Mayor Jenny Shattock. "We have some large projects and big costs facing us including the future of both our wastewater and solid waste, responding to growth and the impact of district property revaluations. All of these issues will have a significant rate impact.
"I cannot ignore the fact that with these rate implications, many people in our community who already have substantial financial pressures, will struggle to find the money; and it is my belief that the additional $850,000 is too much for our community at this time," said Mayor Shattock. "This decision gives us an opportunity to look at other potential wow options that are within budget while continuing with the civil works."
Council and NZTA will continue to work on resurfacing and flooding issues on State Highway 1. Works will start in early January and continue through to March. Staff will be investigating what, if any works, can start prior to Christmas; given the pressures on parking and roading during the festive season.
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