Napier public to be consulted on name for conference centre and design for war memorial
Napier residents will be asked for their opinions on the design of a new war memorial, and whether the Napier Conference Centre's name should be returned to its original War Memorial Hall.
Napier City Council caused a stir last year when it decided it would relocate the roll of honour and flame within the hall to Memorial Square, at the western edge of the CBD, and change the name of the building to Napier Conference Centre, as part of a $7.1 million upgrade.
This sparked a public backlash because the building was built in the 1950s as the War Memorial Hall, with money raised in a public fundraising campaign.
In the face of all that, the council has now confirmed the best place to put the roll of honour and the eternal flame is within a memorial on the site of the floral clock on Marine Parade, next to the conference centre.
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Councillor Kirsten Wise added amendments to council recommendations, asking that the architect of the original memorial hall, Guy Natusch, be consulted on the design for the new memorial, and that the existing roll of honour stay in storage until a decision over what to do with it was made.
Officers would report back to the council with detailed design concepts and projects costs for the memorial.
Locals would then be asked what they thought of the design, what should happen to the original roll of honour.
Wise said she had spoken to many members of the community over recent weeks and the message she got "loud and clear" was that they were not happy with decisions the council had made.
"It's our responsibility to consult and listen to what the community is telling us, I don't believe we should be rushing into any decisions ... we need to get this right."
When a question was asked around any disadvantages the amendments might bring, mayor Bill Dalton said the time it would take to do a full consultation would be the only thing, but acknowledged it was important to get things right.
Wise said she did not see time as an issue.
Council agreed unanimously to the recommendations and their amendments - and that was met with applause by the small but passionate group of people at the council meeting.