The results are in and a comprehensive telephone survey of 1000 Whangarei residents has found that more than half are opposed or strongly opposed to the Hundertwasser Arts Centre, with 28 per cent supporting or strongly supporting the Whangarei District Council project.
The council employed Versus Research, at a cost of $17,065, to do a telephone survey of 1000 Whangarei residents to gauge their support for the Hundertwasser Arts Centre (HAC).
The results will form part of the council's decision on whether the project will go ahead. The council proposes spending up to $13 million to build HAC at the old Harbour Board Building at the Town Basin, with up to $8 million to come from ratepayers.
Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai said the survey results would give the councillors food for thought when they meet to discuss themon Wednesday.
Ms Mai said the results were no surprise as they corresponded with the feedback she had been receiving.
"There are some interesting results in there, with the demographics - very valuable. It shows the worth of having a professional, comprehensive survey carried out."
The full council will meet on Wednesday to discuss the survey and councillors would make a decision on where to from here for the project.
Ms Mai said she may put forward a recommendation that the entire project and the use of the proposed Town Basin building and site be reviewed.
"[The survey results] don't make the decision any easier. But it gives information that we will all use as part of our decision-making process," she said.
Ms Mai said it was clear that the community was split on the issue. If the council voted to go ahead with HAC it would not need to undergo a special consultative process as the project was in its long-term plan.
But, if councillors voted to proceed they may determine that a more extensive poll of ratepayers is required.
However, under the Local Government Act if they can the plan, that would have to go through the special consultative process and call for submissions, because it was in the long-term plan.
Results from the survey, released yesterday, show that 31 per cent of respondents were strongly opposed to HAC while 22 per cent were opposed.
Of male residents 63 per cent opposed or strongly opposed the development while 60 per cent of those aged 60 and above were opposed or strongly opposed.
Okara Ward residents were most antagonistic to HAC, with 59 per cent opposed or strongly opposed, along with 55 per cent of those who were ratepayers.
Females and Bream Bay residents (59 per cent each) were more likely to say there were more important priorities while 40 per cent of Hikurangi residents felt it was too expensive or a waste of money.
Eleven per cent of respondents strongly supported the plan while a further 17 per cent supported it.
Those in the Mangakahia/Maungatapere Ward, home of deputy mayor and HAC supporter Sharon Morgan, were most likely to support or strongly support it (42 per cent), while 33 per cent of female residents supported or strongly supported HAC.