Sports memorial cut down to size

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 12:00 19/06/2014

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Manawatu's Legends of Sport could soon be honoured in The Square in Palmerston North with a display of cast bronze name plaques.

The Palmerston North City Council rejected a proposal for illuminated stainless steel panels two years ago as too bold and potentially disrespectful to the war heroes named on the cenotaph.

The new proposal from Sport Manawatu is to mount small plaques along the wall on the library side of the central car park.

Sport Manawatu chief executive Trevor Shailer said the organisation had reflected on the feedback from councillors in designing an alternative plan that was respectful and recognised the contribution of "amazing role models" in the community.

"It provides hope and inspiration to young people. It shows them anything is possible, and what dedication looks like."

While city councillor Ross Linklater was won over by a proposal that was "not too gaudy", others questioned whether the plaques have been toned down too much.

"If I had eyeballs in my kneecaps, they would be in the perfect place," Cr Duncan McCann told the council's community development committee this week.

He said the Legends of Sport, currently 17 of them, belonged in The Square more than buses did.

Plaques honouring the dedication of sports people in peace time would not detract from the memorial to those who had given their lives in war time, he said.

Cr Rachel Bowen said having bus passengers in The Square made it the ideal place to showcase stories the region was proud to tell.

However, Mayor Jono Naylor said he was not convinced there was a natural bond between The Square and sport.

And Cr Annette Nixon was concerned about the lack of urban design policies to guide decisions whenever someone wanted to put something in The Square.

The proposal has support of Rangitaane iwi, with Wiremu Te Awe Awe describing it as "good and positive" that the Legends should be honoured in Te Marae O Hine.

The Palmerston North RSA is being consulted.

Interactive kiosks where people can find out more about the Legends are also planned.

Discussions are continuing.

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- Manawatu Standard

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