Projects receive mixed response

The future of Kitchener Park, plans for a new sports centre for Feilding High School and upgrades to the Makino Aquatic Centre have all drawn mixed feedback from Manawatu District ratepayers.

The council yesterday wrapped up four weeks of public consultation on its draft long-term plan, which drew almost 200 submissions.

Ratepayers' submissions were dominated by complaints about rural rate rises and the future of the Feilding CBD buildings recently found to be earthquake prone.

The council had asked for feedback on some projects and held focus groups about the use of ratepayer money.

Councillor Alison Short said there had been a "varied response" from the public about paying for recreational projects, including the Makino Aquatic Centre revamp, which had been several years in the making following the abandonment of the "luxurious" Leisureville concept dreamed up in 2009.

The planned redevelopment of the centre had been estimated at $3.2 million, paid for through loans and grant funding, and would cover the construction of a new learner's pool and upgrades of the outdoor pool and changing rooms.

The revamp had been put on hold on several times, but Cr Short said widening of pool space to accommodate high use and changing room upgrades were likely to get the green light this year.

An application from Feilding High School for $1.5m to upgrade its recreational facilities attracted a mixed response.

Its request for money for a new sports centre, grandstand and improved changing rooms were the subject of several ratepayers' submissions, with some against it because it would be built on Education Ministry land.

The council received praise from community groups for its work on improving Feilding's wastewater treatment plant and Himatangi Beach wastewater system.

Many submissions were also received about the future of the Sanson rugby grandstand, with some calling for it to be demo-lished.

Public feedback on Kitchener Park revealed high levels of support for ratepayer-funded maintenance.

Ideas for adding to the Manawatu region's outdoors attractions aired at the week's submissions hearings included a cycling rail trail between Foxton and Palmerston North and a reserve for Pohangina Valley.

Manawatu Standard