Fears new residents won't gel with church
Plans for Temple View have some locals worriedLOUISE RISK
Members of a tight-knit outlying Hamilton suburb are concerned proposed developments will spoil the unique nature of their community, but the team driving the change says residents' happiness is not the only criteria driving the project.
The future of Church College at Temple View, located on the western edge of Hamilton, has come back into the limelight after Envision New Zealand, representing the owners, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held an open information day on the campus earlier this month.
Envision NZ is in discussions with Hamilton City Council regarding the possible rezoning of its land, and the possible transferal of some land from Waipa to Hamilton council jurisdiction.
Church College, considered one of the best examples of American post-war campus design in the world, has had an uncertain future since it was closed at the end of 2009.
Temple View resident Jodhi Ponga and her sister Maari-Rose Thompson fear some of the current proposals are not in the community's best interests.
"It's not that we're against them developing the college, it's just we want it to be done in a way that's good for the whole community," Mrs Ponga said.
Currently Temple View is divided by the main road, with most of the residential area on one side, and the campus and the church on the other.
"Temple View is a lovely place for your children to grow up in," Mrs Ponga said. "It's a safe community. We can let our children play outside and not worry about them."
Under the new proposal, the college land could be rezoned for residential, high density residential and retail land.
The sisters are concerned an "us and them" scenario could result if a new residential area attracted a populace that would not gel with the current church-focused one.
"We're not separatists at all, but Temple View isn't like anywhere else, and we don't want that ruined," Mrs Ponga said.
But Envision NZ director Paul Coward said feedback from the open day showed "about 76 per cent" of people wanted more land available for homes and shops, mostly for "their children and grandchildren".
Envision NZ and the Hamilton City Council are working on a resolution on future planning issues for the church's land which contained both the college buildings and the temple, which had "character and heritage value", according to acting city planning manager Alice Morris.
Mr Coward said it was too soon to say how many homes or shops might occupy the land if it was rezoned, or which, if any, of the existing buildings may be demolished as part of the redevelopment.
Mr Coward said any use of the land and the erection of facilities would comply with Hamilton City Council rules as well as "any special requirements the church might require in respect to maintaining the sanctity of properties surrounding the temple".
Mrs Morris said the proposal would be publicly notified in the district plan on October 29.
"This will be the formal time for residents to voice any concerns to the council."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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