War memorial plans become budget-buster

Bryan Cadogan.
Bryan Cadogan.
The Clutha district's plans to honour the Great War would run over budget, Mayor Bryan Cadogan said yesterday.

But those plans were an important recognition of where New Zealanders came from.

''This is a nationwide commemoration of something that's really important to virtually all New Zealanders. I would say any decent New Zealander will acknowledge that we've got an obligation to commemorate when we defined ourselves as a nation,'' he said.

''We have a duty to remember and we have a duty to respect.''

In the district's annual plan, the council committed to the ''cleaning and maintenance'' of the district's 30 war memorials.

Ratepayers were to pay $10,000 of a budget with the remainder of an expected $50,000 to come from New Zealand's First World War Centenary programme, which runs until 2019.

Major projects proposed in Heriot and Lawrence, and an ''oversubscription'' to the centenary funds, have him concerned that $10,000 will not be enough.

''It worries me a little bit that we're at two [of the district's war memorials] and already we've blown the budget,'' he said.

But he said the money budgeted during the annual plan process was recognition of a future financial commitment,

prior to an accurate understanding of the costs involved.

''We made an acknowledgement at the time that a financial commitment would be required.

''It won't be $10,000. Does that mean my commitment will go away?''Lawrence-Tuapeka Community Board chairman Geoff Davidson learned this week the memorial in Lawrence would require $15,000 to fix.

''We knew it was going to cost a bit,'' he said. At the top of the concrete dome housing the memorial the concrete had receded and steel was exposed, which had rusted, Mr Davidson said.

''It's quite deteriorated.''

The majority of the people present at a public meeting held at the Heriot District Community Centre in May spoke in favour of moving the town's war memorial from Roxburgh St to the community centre.

The plan will be discussed at a public meeting called for September 17.

The West Otago Community Board heard on Wednesday the move would require a new concrete floor at the memorial's base and the refurbishment of its granite pieces before re-assembly.

A contractor has been visiting the district's 30 war memorials to determine the cost of the council's commitment.

A meeting next Wednesday of representatives of the district's RSAs and other interested parties will identify the costs involved in the cleaning and maintenance of the district's memorials.

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