Visitor centre plan supported

By Lawrence Gullery

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The plan to build a new visitor and education centre at Te Mata Peak passed another milestone with majority support for the project recorded from public submissions.

Hastings District Council said it received seven submissions and five were in support of the plan while two opposed it.

Those opposed included James Joll and Marina Jackson of Havelock North, who said they were worried about having a commercial activity within the park and the public money used to fund the project.

They said the council needed to reduce "spending on silly ideas"

But they suggested the council should buy the park so it could be in public ownership, not controlled by the Te Mata Park Trust.

Submitter Peter Holland of Hastings also wanted the application to develop the centre declined because the trust had "gone outside this community" for architectural advice for the project "... when we have good architects here who should be supported."

Submitters who supported the development included the Kiwi Adventure Trust's director, David Tait.

He said the adventure trust had used the park for its programmes for nearly a decade.

"The area is special and unique and I have personally used it countless times while training for events such as the Coast to Coast."

Submitter Patrick Maloney said the visitor centre would allow greater educational focus on the district with its unique geology, history and ecology.

"I support the design which is low profile and appropriate for this outstanding landscape."

A council planner will now summarise the submissions to prepare a report and recommendation on the application.

The application will then be presented to a hearing if required, chaired by an independent commissioner.

Those who wish to be heard in support of their submission can do so.

Any hearing must commence within 25 working days from the time of the closure for submissions.

At the end of the hearing, the commissioner will have 15 working days to make a decision on the application.

An appeal period would commence from this date for a further 15 working days in which the applicant or any submitter can appeal the decision or conditions if granted.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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