News from Waipā District Council that it intended to build a new bridge in Te Awamutu War Memorial Park, but demolish the 'non operational' fountain didn't go down well with residents in Te Awamutu.

In fact, one man took it upon himself to show that the fountain would indeed still operate — and when a few of us gathered for the 'turning on' event last Friday it didn't take long for more people to arrive and admire the fountain.

It didn't take long for a small crowd to gather to appreciate a running Peace Fountain in Te Awamutu War Memorial Park.
It didn't take long for a small crowd to gather to appreciate a running Peace Fountain in Te Awamutu War Memorial Park.

Marc Dawson says council used misinformation to come to the decision to demolish the fountain.

And he says it was an integral part of the original design and is called The Peace Fountain, so removing it from the park goes against the original intentions of the facility.

Advertisement

He says the reason the fountain has not been used for years was because council in fact turned it off and disconnected some of the pipework.

But he knew some of the fittings did still exist, and with some hose and a bit of digging and joining the fountain's bowl once again filled and spilled into the pool below.

Marc says it had previously run on town water supply, and agreed this wasn't a sustainable method, but had done some research and said there were other options that wouldn't break the bank.

He says part of the inlet still worked and the overflow from the pool used to flow into the lake, and could easily be reconnected.

Most of his options would provide a flow of water into the lake, which would help water quality as the lake is often stagnant.

These included pumping water from the stream, pumping from the nearby spring or using the existing recirculating pump from the lake (which is being repaired) and adding a line to the fountain.

Another option is recirculating water within the fountain structure.

Planning for a park to commemorate those who fought and died in World War II started in 1947.

In 1951 earthworks began to convert the swamp and bush and it was completed and officially opened on December 4, 1955 by Prime Minister Sydney Holland.

Water features, the sunken cross and roses were the original features, designed by G Gibbs and Harold Babbage, who also supervised the work, and constructed by H Webber and Alf Smart.

Harold's niece Jo Haines was one of the people at the park on Friday to see the fountain going again.

Marc says after the fountain was turned off, it continued to hold water over the weekend, showing there were no significant leaks.

He believes work should get underway as soon as possible to reinstate the fountain to its original glory and it would be re-dedicated to observe the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day in November.

Some of the other visitors in the park on Friday were also keen to talk to me about other issues for Memorial Park they would like council to attend to.

We will visit those issues in a future edition — and I believe we need to make a case as a community to bring Te Awamutu War Memorial Park back to to its former glory, especially as we celebrate its 75th anniversary in a couple of years.

Waipā District Council chief executive Garry Dyet was made aware of the working Peace Fountain on Friday and has agreed no demolition work would take place until parties had discussed all the options.

Councillor Hazel Barnes is keen to take it a step further and form a community-based group, with representatives from interested parties, to advise council on this park.

Te Awamutu Courier will be following all progress closely.