Odour problem may move kura site

By Sophie Price

11 comments
Tukituki MP Craig Foss.
Tukituki MP Craig Foss.

Odour problems have forced the Ministry of Education to look at alternate sites for the proposed Havelock North kura kaupapa.

Following advice that Hastings District Council is considering the impact that Te Mata Mushrooms company may have on future residential developments, the ministry has commissioned an environmental assessment of the site on Arataki Rd proposed for the relocation of Te Kura Kaupapa Mori o Te Wnanga Whare Tapere o Takitimu.

Deputy secretary for sector enablement and support, Katrina Casey, said as a result of this fresh information, the ministry needs to take another look at the suitability of the site.

She said she expects the assessment to be completed within two to three months.

"We understand this uncertainty's unsettling for the kura, but we have met with them today and they know we have to do what's in the very best interests of their kids and staff," she said.

"But we have met with them today and they know we have to do what's in the very best interests of their kids and staff," Ms Casey said.

"Regardless of what the local authority might decide to do, our own assessment will tell us if the site is likely to be affected by unpleasant odours that would make it unsuitable for kids," she said.

Hastings councillor Malcolm Dixon, and long time advocate for a rethink on the kura kaupapa, said he was pleased that the ministry had arrived at this decision.

"I am actually delighted they have decided to do this because it is making them responsible," Mr Dixon said.

Mr Dixon said he hoped the assessment would be an independent one.

"For the long term impact on what odour may have on the health and safety of children considering the density of a school population," he said.

Tukituki MP Craig Foss also welcomed the decision to reconsider the location of the school.

"This additional information provides an opportunity to consider all of the issues around the proposal," he said.

"I will continue to strongly advocate and stand up for the community.

"I look forward to the outcome of the assessment."

Ms Casey said the ministry is keeping options open while the assessment is carried out to avoid any unnecessary delays.

"Design work is continuing on the relocated kura, but we are also starting to explore alternative sites as that's the prudent thing to do in this sort of situation," Ms Casey said.

"Our key concerns here are doing what's best for the kura and its kids and making sure that we have all the right information before making any final decision."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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