17 Nov 2017

Grandstand group gutted by council's demolition decision

2:52 pm on 17 November 2017

A group that has been trying to save a historic grandstand in Takaka says the community has been poorly served by a decision to pull it down.

The barrel-vaulted roofed building, erected in 1899, was earmarked for demolition several years ago by the Tasman District Council.

Elevated view overlooking the Takaka Agricultural & Pastoral Show in progress at the showgrounds.

Elevated view overlooking the Takaka Agricultural & Pastoral Show in progress at the showgrounds. Photo: Kingsford Collection 161033 / Nelson Provincial Museum

Finally, at a meeting yesterday, the council decided to have it removed to make way for a carpark at a new recreation centre built for the town.

Golden Bay Grandstand Community Trust spokesperson Duncan McKenzie said its members are gutted by the decision, but not entirely surprised.

"The amount of work we've put in to try and please the council, and it didn't matter which way we turned they put obstacles in our path, right from day one."

The trust has fought tooth and nail to save the building, but recently lost a legal bid to prohibit its removal.

Mr McKenzie said despite the blow, they are refusing to give up.

"At this stage, we've gone this far so we're not going to back down. Hopefully we'll galvanise the community behind us and put pressure on the council to change their mind. There's a hell of a lot of support out there for retaining the grandstand," he said.

Tasman mayor Richard Kempthorne said the debate has been extremely divisive and it is not in anyone's interest for that to continue.

"This has been extremely challenging for everyone involved - the trust, the members and users of the Recreation Park Centre in Golden Bay, plus the wider community and the council.

"We are very mindful of the passion and hard work the trust has put into its proposal."

Mr Kempthorne said they knew the decision is going to be upsetting and frustrating for some.

"However, it's better for that anger to be directed at us for making an unpopular decision than for the community to continue directing it at one another."

Mr Kempthorne said the grandstand would be deconstructed in a way that made the option of rebuilding it on another site possible.

"If the trust wishes to do that, we would welcome it and will give them the first choice. However, we understand that their primary goal was to restore the grandstand in-situ, so if they don't wish to take on a rebuild we will leave the option open for any other group who wishes to take it on."

The trust said in a statement that the suggestion that parts of the grandstand might be reassembled elsewhere is "meaningless".