Waipā District Council has posted the Te Awamutu Memorial Park Draft Concept Plan online as part of its 'Have your say' pages and is asking the public to respond.
As announced a fortnight ago, a major revamp of Te Awamutu's much-loved Memorial Park could be on the cards — but not immediately and not without community support.
Over coming months council will ask the community for feedback on a new concept plan developed for the 6.68ha park.
Waipa mayor Jim Mylchreest said staff had worked closely with community stakeholders to develop an 'aspirational vision' for Memorial Park which could be implemented in stages over the next 10 years.
Plans include relocating the amphitheatre to increase the size of the space, strengthening connections to the Mangaohoi and Mangapiko streams, replacing the existing pond with a purpose-built play area, improving car-parking and creating new memorial features.
There were also bids to undertake a major indigenous planting programme, establish a heritage orchard at the park and redesign and reinstate the three bridges.
The proposal also suggests creating a 3m wide walking and cycling 'spine' through the park to connect Mutu St and Racecourse Rd as well as creating a network of secondary trails.
Councillor Lou Brown abstained from discussion and voting at the meeting which approved the concept plan for public consultation because of his role as president of Te Awamutu RSA.
But he has been active in rallying the troops to ensure their thoughts are known in regard to maintaining many of the original memorial features his members don't want to see lost.
Lou organised a meeting at the park with other stakeholders recently so they could share their thoughts.
He says many people he has spoken to are happy council is considering an upgrade, but not so keen on losing some of the original features, nor the recent addition of the archway entrances sponsored by Te Awamutu RSA with huge input from Te Awamutu Lions.
Building consultant Russell Easton has been at the forefront of two Lions projects that involve the park — the steam locomotive restoration and the archway design and installation — and works with Waipa Netball and we will be looking at some of his thoughts in a forthcoming article.
Lou also paid tribute to Marc Dawson and the work that has been undertaken to research the history of the park and present arguments to maintain and improve the historic features.
Marc's work can be viewed at teawamutu.nz and we will be looking at some of his thoughts in a future article.
Lou is also organising a public meeting when able — keep an eye on the Te Awamutu Courier for details.
Also present was Te Awamutu Community Board chairwoman Ange Holt.
She added that while the board approved the design be released for consultation, members weren't necessarily happy with the entire concept and would have liked more time to consider their response to the concept.
However, Ange says members agree there are many good aspects to the plan and they urge the public to get involved.
For more from the community board see the chair's column on page 10.
Another councillor representing a group with concerns about the scope of the concept is Hazel Barnes, who is also president of Te Awamutu Grey Power.
She says the group she represents will be overwhelmed by the scope of the project, and the technology needed to deal with making a submission.
Hazel says she will be working hard to make sure their collective wishes are well known to council.
Go to waipadc.govt.nz/our-council/haveyoursay where you can see explanations and plans and submit via a link to a survey or download a hard copy. Hard copies are also available from council offices.
Deadline is 5pm, Monday, July 13.