Placemakers Site
Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 1:30PM
Bill Barclay

It is quite clear now, following a clue dropped during the TCB Meeting on Wednesday that there is a strong move towards changing the heritage status designation of the Placemakers site, so as to make it a more saleable proposition, and enable all manner of activities to take place on the site.

These could include accommodation, swimming pool, the Zoom Zone and various tourist facilities seen as desirable for then town. Like it or not, there will be strong opposition from those who are determined to retain the full heritage designation that incorporates the site. Removal of the Placemakers designation will be seen by many as the thin edge of the wedge with other sites having their designation changed to enable sale, or alternative use.

Solicitor Bruce Oliver who has tourist related facilities in the immediate area appears to be behind the move for change. He is also at the forefront of the moves in the town to overturn any attempt by the Cycleway Trust to avoid its full commitment to extend the Cycleway into the town - the Shortland Wharf was the commitment given, but there appear to have moves lately to resile from this with reversion to a terminus at Totara.

There are moves afoot (and it takes a fair bit to get our Thames business stirred up) to hold  a busines only meeting to put a bit of steel into the backbone of the Mayor and others who are the forefront of negotiations. Good luck to them - I suspect that there are already behind the scenes moves that will cause chagrin in the town, and rightly so, though I have not seen much Community Board activity. 

Certainly there has been difficulty getting buy-in from Ngati Maru in regard to land beyond Totara claimed to be Waihi Tapu, and a recalcitrant landowner. That, together with the fraught issue surrounding the adequacy of the one metre wide path from Totara, and the narrow and dangerous Kauaeranga Bridge path is obviously causing headaches, just exactly as I previously predicted.   

Watch this space - there was a meeting in Paeroa yesterday that may have bearing on the outcome.




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