Community board to establish hall advisory group

Members of the Cromwell Community Board discuss the next steps in advancing the Cromwell Memorial...
Members of the Cromwell Community Board discuss the next steps in advancing the Cromwell Memorial Hall. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON
The next steps in proceeding with the Cromwell Memorial Hall can now be taken after the Cromwell Community Board agreed to establish an advisory group to help with the project.

However, additional input from the community is yet to be decided.

Years of inaction and delays regarding the hall have long been a point of contention for Cromwell residents.

In June, as part of its long-term plan, the Central Otago District Council agreed to a budget of $31.5 million for the development of a 2000sq m town hall/events centre and museum on the site of the existing hall.

Community consultation gave the council a clear mandate and a 12 month planning and design phase was agreed to, and outlined to the community board.

In a report to the board, council property and facilities manager Garreth Robinson recommended an advisory group be formed and the project sponsor, programme manager and two community board members appointed to keep the project advancing and report to the community board.

Governance level decisions would still be made by the community board.

The option of creating an external stakeholders group to feed into the project advisory group was suggested in the report but if elected members saw the need for this, any such group would need careful consideration to identify the right balance of members, Mr Robinson said.

Community board chairwoman Anna Harrison said she agreed it was ‘‘ambitious’’ tostart the construction phase by the beginning of July 2022, knowing the community had asked them to be future-proofing and ensuring the flexibility of the space.

Deputy chairman Werner Murray asked how an external stakeholder group would work, given it was a high profile project in terms of community interest, having many people, some louder than others, interested.

Mr Robinson recommended an expression of interest be sought and shortlisted by the community board.

Newly sworn in community board member Bob Scott asked where the Cromwell Cultural Centre Trust fitted into the scheme of things.

Mrs Harrison said the trust, or members of it, could ask to be part of the external stakeholders group.

Neil Gillespie said although he would not pre-empt whether the trust would tender to be part of the group, it did have members with areas of expertise that would be beneficial.

The board agreed to the establishment of the advisory group and appointed Mrs Harrison and community board member Nigel McKinlay to join Mr Robinson and the council’s planning and environment executive manager on the advisory group.

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