A series of information boards have been erected throughout Memorial Park showcasing some of the significant improvements the council is proposing for the area.

The proposals, which are explained on seven storyboards, are part of the draft concept plan for Te Awamutu's Memorial Park, released by Waipā District Council last week.

The draft concept focuses on acknowledging the park's extensive cultural heritage alongside its well-known war history. It focuses on restoring waterways and heritage features along with creating natural play spaces, a wide shared pathway spine, removing car access from Mutu St and the establishment of gateways to help create a legacy for the park that accurately reflects its memorial status.

Proposals for the shared path and existing pergola.
Proposals for the shared path and existing pergola.

The draft concept plan opened for public consultation on May 18 and will close for submissions on July 13.

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Council community services manager Sally Sheedy says the storyboards were a creative way of outlining several of the key proposals in the draft concept plan.

"It can be difficult for people to get an understanding of what we are proposing and why, without reading the full draft document plan. These boards combine text and imagery to express the proposals in an engaging way on site.

Sign explaining proposed plans for the pond area.
Sign explaining proposed plans for the pond area.

"We'd like to get as much feedback as possible on these concept plans so it was important to think outside of the box to grab people's attention," says Sally.

"We encourage residents to head down to Memorial Park to check out the information boards and imagine the future of the space – while remembering to keep two metres from other members of the public."

Six signs have been erected throughout the park with the main overview of the draft concept plan located between the gazebo and pergola at the Mutu St entrance for Pioneer Walkway.

Moving one heritage feature to a new area is one such proposal - the amphitheatre located directly over a natural spring that would otherwise flow to the Mangaohoi Stream.

A proposal to remove the man-made pond is also in the draft concept plan, which has received a lot of feedback since the consultation period opened.

"We understand our community hold fond memories of family time feeding ducks at the pond," says Sheedy.

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"However, there are substantial challenges with the pond and its maintenance, which are outlined on the signage and our website. We really encourage people to consider the reasons for the changes proposed in draft concept plan and to provide us with their feedback."

Sheedy said the draft concept plan, if formally adopted, would be considered in the upcoming 2021-2031 Long Term Plan (LTP). Proposals would be implemented long term and as funding allows.

Waipā mayor Jim Mylchreest says the council would carefully consider its spending priorities and focus on ways to boost the economy in the LTP.

"The Covid-19 crisis has had a huge effect on our economy so our top priority is to get it revitalised. Outside of this, we'll continue looking at ways to improve our towns and make them amazing places to live, work and play."

Residents can have their say on the draft concept plan at waipadc.govt.nz/memorialpark or by heading into the council offices and picking up a hardcopy survey. An interactive map is also available online.