The need for a public apology has been raised as Whakatāne's council nears a solution to the controversial tidal pool at The Heads.
Councillor Nandor Tanczos has suggested elected members admit to the community that the pool's original plan was a mistake, and apologise.
At a projects and services committee meeting yesterday, Whakatāne District Council's community experience general manager Georgina Fletcher reported the council had received professional advice regarding improvements to the tidal pool at Wairaka Centennial Park.
Advised improvements are the removal of the two centre steps and resurfacing the concrete installation of two new steps over the top of the existing end steps; and for the steps to be 3.72m long with a minimum 250mm step and 185mm rise.
It includes the installation of two ramps, one for children to access the water from the water play area and another to access the culturally significant rock, Himoki.
The next step is for staff to meet with the tidal pool community reference group to discuss the proposed improvements.
The recommended improvements are a direct result of themes established from the community consultation hui. These themes were Te Mana o te Wai, connectivity to the water, water play and access, maintain access to the water area, preserve a natural state of the area, cultural input with new appropriate signage and access to Himoki rock.
"We hope to be in a position to report back to the next projects and services committee meeting with the agreed improvements and pricing for the improvements," Ms Fletcher said in her report.
Mr Tanczos said it had been a while coming, but he was really pleased to see that the council had found a way forward.
"I continue to get feedback about this issue. One of the things I've been hearing is that many people in our community feel that we have never fronted up to the fact that we made a mistake. I think it's really important for us as the political leadership of this council to actually acknowledge and say to our community, 'we messed up, we're sorry, we're fixing it, but we accept that we made a mistake'."
Councillor Gavin Dennis asked that, in light of Mr Tanczos' comments, the community wanted council to show some leadership on the matter, once the reference group had approved the plan, that it be brought back to councillors for approval.
Councillor Julie Jukes agreed.
"I think we do need to show leadership on this if we're going to get blamed for it - and we are being blamed for it. We have to take responsibility for it, as councillor Tanczos has said, which I agree with.
"While it may be an operational matter, I believe it is another significant one that should be coming back to the council for approval.
Ms Fletcher said it was not the normal course of business for technicalities to be approved by the council, but she appreciated there had been a lot of public interest in this matter so she would keep councillors updated.
Meeting chairman Gerard van Beek said councillor Lesley Immink, who was not able to attend the meeting, sent in a question about the budget for the remedial works and when they would be likely to "get on with them".
Ms Fletcher said from memory, the long-term plan budget was in the vicinity of $70,000. As she had yet to go back to the reference group, she was unable to give a date at this point but would be able to confirm some further detail at the next meeting.
Councillor Alison Silcock asked to also receive information on what the costs had been to date.