Cromwell's message clear: "Don't demolish our buildings."

by Kim Bowden - May 25, 2021

The message from Cromwellians was loud and clear: Don’t demolish our library or council service buildings.

And it’s a message the town’s local community board is set to deliver back to the Central Otago District Council.

Knocking down the two buildings was part of a $42-million town centre rejuvenation project proposed in the Council’s Long-Term Plan consultation document.

The challenge now is, without a clear road map, will the Council still be willing to earmark the funds for an ambiguous project?

Cromwell Community Board chair Anna Harrison: 'We heard loud and clear from our community that they are opposed to the demolition of the service centre and library buildings.'

Cromwell Community Board chair Anna Harrison says there will need to be a large district funded component to any town centre upgrade.

“So there is going to be debate at Council level considering that we have amended the item in the consultation document.”

The board heard “loud and clear” from the community they were opposed to the demolition of the library and service centre buildings, she says.

“We heard some really interesting ideas through submissions about possibilities for development and repurposing of the Council-owned buildings and possible development of the town centre.”

The board will now recommend to Council the $42 million in funding remain in the Long-Term Plan, the Council-owned buildings not be demolished, and urban design work be undertaken before any decisions about the development of the precinct are finalised, she says.

The other big-ticket item for Cromwell in the draft Long-Term Plan was the development of a $31.5-million arts, culture and heritage precinct at the site of the town’s problem-plagued memorial hall – a project submitters gave a thumbs-up, with some provisos.

The community wants any facility to be future-proofed for growth and opportunities, and they want some thought put into who will drive the project.

And those sentiments will be reflected in the Community Board’s recommendations to Council, says Mrs Harrison.

“We clarified in our recommendation to Council that the size of the centre could change as necessary once further planning and detailed design work has been undertaken to understand needs, growth and future opportunities.

“We acknowledged the excellent work that has already been undertaken by the Cromwell Cultural Centre Trust, and our recommendation to Council ensures that we are leaving options for a partnership model or trust model to be considered.”

Other resolutions made by the Cromwell Community Board that will go through to the Council include a recommendation relating to an increase in Cromwell Museum funding and a recommendation to investigate the future installation of a toilet at the Cromwell Bike Park.

The Board also agreed on a recommendation to Council to amend the fees and charges schedule so that the fees charged at the pools in both towns be $30 per hour for lane hire for private swim schools as well as a concession card charging $1 for pool entry for all swim school students.

A lakeside arts, culture and heritage precinct planned for Cromwell - the town's local board members are recommending Council give green-light to this and a town centre upgrade in its upcoming Long-Term Plan.

Council received a record 851 submissions on its latest Long-Term Plan, with approximately 60 percent of those from the Cromwell ward.

More than 60 of those submitters opted to speak to their submissions in front of the Cromwell Community Board last week.

“It is testament to our community that they are so engaged in the LTP process and wished to be part of the biggest decisions made in Cromwell for many years,” says Mrs Harrison.

“It is a privilege to have such a high level of engagement, but exhausting ensuring that we have given time and attention to all the feedback from our community.”

Where to next?

Council will meet on Tuesday, June 1 and Wednesday, June 2 to hear further submitters wishing to present to the full Council, consider the recommendations of the community boards and all 852 written submissions to the plan before they give sign off to the projects that will go into the final Long-Term Plan.

Following a final audit process the plan is set to be adopted on June 30.

Main Image: The Cromwell Community Board is ditching a proposed plan to demolish the town's library and Council service centre in what was an attempt to invite more foot-traffic into the mall.

Support Crux Support Crux