Investigation is currently being conducted of the potential to create some additional working space for doctors at the Kawhia Medical Centre, and a preliminary suggestion has been made in an informal discussion that one of the options available to achieve this would be to utilise the room in that building that is currently leased to the Kawhia Arts Group.
This was however only one of the suggested possible options, the potential details of which have not yet been properly explored. It is therefore unfortunate that this matter has already become an issue of public contention in Kawhia, and there is concern that this issue could again fuel divisions in that community.
The approach of Council to this matter at the present time will therefore be as follows:
1. There will be no discussion (formal or informal) of a potential ending of the Art Group’s lease at the meeting of the Kawhia Community Board on Friday 1 February 2019, as sufficient investigation of available options will not have been completed upon which any decision to that effect could be made, and to have any discussion about an end of the lease at this time has the potential to increase barriers and divisions within the community.
2. Council’s Community Development Manager, Trish Ambury, will commence engagement with the Arts Group, the Medical Centre and other relevant property owners to explore what options there may be for a solution that will be acceptable to all. Only when that exploration has been completed may the Board consider discussing an end of the Art Group’s lease, if indeed that is seen at the time as an appropriate option.
3. Requests of the public to speak on this matter in the public forum section of this Friday’s Kawhia Community Board meeting will not be accepted, for the same reasons as for the first point. The time for feedback from the community will be after a proper assessment of all the available options has been conducted.
This approach being taken by Council is not intended to support or oppose anybody’s position regarding this matter, it is just to help ensure that an orderly, well considered process is conducted, without unnecessary emotion.
Chief Executive, Otorohanga District Council