A Te Awamutu Business Chamber project to repurpose Holmes Garage into a community space has gained support from the public, but not Waipā District Council staff.
Chamber chief executive Shane Walsh says council staff did not support the project in a report to the district authority and recommended the building be demolished and the area paved.
After he made a presentation at a council meeting on Tuesday, Walsh is pleased to report the project has been given a reprieve, but says that doesn’t mean it has been saved.
Walsh says the chamber believes the project has several community benefits and this is what he pointed out to councillors.
He believes councillors did not have all the information to make a decision, so was pleased they haven’t yet agreed with the staff recommendation.
Since the initial plan was launched, the chamber has been working with consultants to fine-tune the project and align it to council aspirations.
He also pointed out that when the plan was published on Facebook it received 529 likes and 114 comments. Only two were negative.
The proposal is to develop the building as a strategic link between the CBD and Selwyn Park, creating a community space with numerous uses, an entrance to the park and acknowledging the cultural and historic significance of the site.
He says it is common practice around the globe to repurpose existing buildings because it is environmentally friendly, affordable and retains the character of an area.
The new design aims to be “uniquely Te Awamutu” and provide space for markets, indoor/outdoor concerts and art and cultural events.
It is also thought it will help attract more events and increase visitor numbers to the town.
One of the main goals is to create a market culture, moving the Thursday evening market to the site and creating a new Te Awamutu Market on Sunday that would fit in with other popular markets in the region.
Walsh says successful markets grow visitor numbers and become an attraction in their own right.
He also believes there will be uses not yet thought of that would benefit from such a space.
The chamber will be working to promote its plan and gain the support necessary to have the Holmes Garage project included in the council’s Long Term Plan next year.
Dean Taylor is a community journalist with more than 35 years of experience and is editor of the Te Awamutu Courier and Waikato Herald.
Stay up to date with the Te Awamutu Courier and Waikato Herald. Get the latest Waikato headlines straight to your inbox Monday to Saturday. Register for free today - click here and choose Local News.