Events centre cost debated
Matamata residents' rates could go up if Matamata-Piako District Council agrees to help fund an events centre in Te Aroha.
Te Aroha Events Centre Charitable Trust is seeking $2 million from the council and the matter is now up for public consultation.
The trust has raised almost $1 million, with full costs for the facility estimated to fall between $4.5 million and $5 million.
Matamata Futures trustee Frank Healey said they fully supported plans to build a world-class facility in Te Aroha, but would like to see any money contributed by the council paid for by Te Aroha ratepayers.
"We think that ward funding is the only practical funding for facilities such as this," said Mr Healey.
"Allowing wards to undertake projects like this would enable community ownership and encourage other wards to take responsibility for their own spending."
However, the council said the events centre would be a district facility, which meant all ratepayers would pay for it.
At the highest cost estimate of $5 million, rates had the potential to go up by $15.29 a year for a $300,000 urban property and $141.52 a year for a $4 million rural property.
The council has already committed $2 million to the upgrade of the Matamata Sports Centre and a further $2 million to the upgrade of Headon Stadium in the Our Community Our Future plan.
In a poll on the Matamata Chronicle Facebook page, 94 per cent of people were against the council contributing $2 million to the Te Aroha Events Centre, 4 per cent were in support and 2 per cent were undecided.
If plans go ahead, the centre would be located at Boyd Park and would include two indoor courts, a conference room, kitchen facilities and changing and toilet facilities.
Trust member Paul Williams said the trust had discussed less expensive options but agreed that a smaller version "will never happen".
Councillor and trust chairman Peter Jager said there was no "plan B".
"There is one plan - one idea. We are fully aware of the possible costs."
Submissions close on November 21, with a council hearing set down for December 5.