Attempts to discuss planned new Carterton
community centre brought to halt as community
activist disrupts proceedings.
A MEETING in Carterton last night designed to gather public support for the proposed $4 million community centre degenerated into a screaming match, then fell into total chaos, ending prematurely with one woman being marched away by police to the protestations of several supporters.
Kate Raue, a long-standing protagonist in debates over Carterton's former community centre, began calling interjections halfway through the two-hour meeting.
"Whatever happened to our old community centre and its money?" was one call from her. "It all went into the pockets of those wanting it closed," she added.
It was at this point that MP and former Carterton Mayor, Georgina Beyer was speaking in support of the new project.
Obviously annoyed by Ms Raue's interruptions, Ms Beyer swung around and shouted: "Kate Raue, you are a blight on this town and you should leave. I don't know who you think you represent, but it's not anyone here. Just go!"
Ms Raue hit headlines in February 2003 when she alleged all the money from the old community centre was stolen and "put into the pockets of the council" and said she would not leave town until the books were properly audited.
Several people in the crowd of around 120 got to their feet and began shouting. Belinda Howard yelled at Ms Raue: "I'm a member of this community and I also wish you would shut up".
Focus Group chairman Ewan Hyde, who was chairing the meeting, tried to calm the situation asking Ms Raue to leave but she persisted by yelling: "See how far this has got you, but you won't get any further and find the funds."
Deputy Mayor Bill Knowles failed in an attempt to call for order as Ms Raue decided to sit down, throwing back "Don't think I'm giving up, I'm just having a rest."
The discussion on the new proposal continued with several people asking questions and making comments.
These included ensuring the heritage aspects of the St John hall and district library building were adhered to, the number of meeting rooms to be provided and the cost of running them
Minty Hunter described himself as a newcomer to Carterton from Australia and said Carterton continues to amaze him in what there was to offer people.
"It's a fabulous place with a lot of flavour and I'm pleased I moved here."
The lack of close sporting facilities concerned him however, and he asked about public transport to places like the Gladstone and Clareville complexes for young people.
Matthew Morris queried "from one consultant to another" where the fiscal responsibility for the proposed new community centre would lay.
He said it was all very well getting all these "wonderful new facilities" but wondered how the council would cope with any cost overruns and also how its infrastructure, especially sewage system, was keeping up with the town's developments.
Jacob Senior said he had taken part in many music and drama courses at the former community centre before it closed down and wondered now where the youth of the town went for entertainment.
Mr Hyde said youth activities were one of the main components of the proposed new centre.
At this point Ms Raue began yelling again about the former centre and how it had been closed down.
Two policemen then appeared and tried to escort her from the room.
Mr Morris asked if such action was really necessary and two friends of Ms Raue, Colin Alloms and Merlene Chambers, tried to stop them taking Ms Raue away. But the officers removed her from the hall and took her away in a patrol car.
The meeting again fell into chaos and Mr Hyde decided that it was best the meeting ended.
Many of those who attended were elderly and left clearly troubled by the events.
Kate Nolan, a member of the Focus Group said she was saddened by it all because it took away the exciting nature of the new proposal.
Mr Hyde said later he had taken a phonecall from Ms Raue on Tuesday and the tenor of the conversation led him to suspect there could be disruption at the meeting.
As a result he had alerted police.
?? Masterton police said later that a Carterton woman, 47, had been arrested outside the meeting and would appear in Masterton District Court today on charges including trespass, resisting arrest and assaulting police officers.