Lobby group for school aiming to hijack meeting

By Sophie Price

2 comments
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule.
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule.

More than 250 people could hijack tomorrow's mushroom farm meeting in a bid to force the primary school issue on to the agenda.

At 5.30pm at the village's function centre, Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule is holding an information session regarding the future of the residential expansion of the Arataki and Brookvale Rd area and the ongoing operations of Te Mata Mushroom Company.

However, any discussion of a school for such residential expansion is not a topic of discussion.

"It is not the purpose of the meeting and it actually hasn't been formally been added to the agenda," Mr Yule said.

"But I will cover off the implications of Te Mata mushrooms and a new school zone as part of it. So I am not completely shutting it out but it is not the purpose of the meeting."

The 250-strong crowd comprise the supporters of a new lobby group, School for Havelock North.

The group's spokesman, John Nobilo, said the mayor could not exclude a primary school to future-proof local education needs from planning for residential growth and demand.

"We want to know what the council is going to do about education as part of the planning process," he said.

However, Mr Yule said the schooling issue was one for central Government.

"I believe if it [Havelock North] continues to grow, it will need another school at some point. At what time and where is the point that needs to be determined," Mr Yule said.

When questioned about the council's role in planning for such an eventuality, the mayor said the council was talking to the Ministry of Education about "planning for such things". However, he said if the odour issue with Te Mata mushroom could not be resolved to allow further residential growth, such expansion could be moved elsewhere in the village.

"But simply put, if the smell issue cannot be resolved with Te Mata Mushroom Co in that area there won't be a kura [kaupapa], there won't even be a new school," he said.

"That actually may mean that another school [is] required at the other end of Havelock North," he said.

"So they are linked, and the Ministry of Education get that and we have been having conversations with them about that."

Mr Yule said that until the issues with the mushroom farm were resolved, council could not make those types of decisions.

"Which is really the issue I am trying to talk about on Tuesday night," he said.

Labour spokeswoman for Tukituki Anna Lorck said Havelock North deserved to know what the future education landscape would look like.

"This is no less important than sorting out the mushroom farm," she said.

"Under the Local Government Act, the council must plan for the future needs of communities - you can't look at residential growth and schools in isolation."

Mr Nobilo said the School for Havelock North group just wanted a new primary school on the agenda.

"We want planning to start now, we believe the council has a role to play in this and cannot separate itself from the issue," he said.

"We want to know if the council and community leaders will help us."

In addition to representatives from Hastings District Council, spokespeople from Hawke's Bay Regional Council and Te Mata Mushrooms will also be in attendance at the meeting.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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