Call to maintain war memorial

One of the plaques at the entrance to the Omakau District Memorial Hall lists some of the town's...
One of the plaques at the entrance to the Omakau District Memorial Hall lists some of the town's men who went to war. PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Retaining a memorial to soldiers needs to be considered if Omakau's proposed multipurpose community hub is approved, a resident says.

The community hub could replace the earthquake-prone memorial hall and ageing amenity facilities in the town's domain.

If that was to happen, it would mean losing the recognition already in place of local men who served in war.

Penny Sinnamon, of Omakau, has discussed the idea of having those names and others from surrounding districts, placed on a display board, similar to the one located in Oturehua.

Mrs Sinnamon appreciated the memorial hall was not used very often and believed the community hub was a positive move.

"So long as it doesn't put a burden on ratepayers."

The community hub, estimated to cost "in excess" of $2million, will be designed to benefit existing and future groups within the wider community.

The annual Winter Feed Crop Challenge fundraiser has supported the project and half of this year's proceeds will go towards the cause.

This year's challenge, which concluded last Friday, raised more than $66,000 in total.

A working group for the community hub has been formed, which was assisting the Central Otago District Council and Global Leisure Group, a specialist sport, recreation and community planning consultancy.

Global Leisure Group has completed its community consultation and has made recommendations in a final report to the council.

Omakau Residents Association chairman Colin Stevenson said the community working group had reviewed the report and was pleased with the findings.

Central Otago District Council community and engagement manager Paula Penno said the community hub had "real merit" for the Omakau community.

However, it would need to be affordable for the people, both to build and maintain, she said.

"Omakau people have a real `can do' attitude and a strong community culture - if any community can make this project work, I am sure they can."

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