Designs for two community hubs will proceed as originally planned after a motion agreed by Council to reallocate the funding did not receive iwi support.
The previous Council decided to build community hubs in Dargaville and Mangawhai with the two tranches of Government funding provided through the Better off Funding package. Of the $4.04 million Tranche 1 funding, $1.02 million was allocated to design and prepare for the Dargaville hub on land already owned by Council and $3.02 million would go to land purchase and hub design in Mangawhai. Tranche 2 funding ($12 million) was to be spent on building the hubs.
When the Government withdrew the offer of Tranche 2 funding, they allowed Councils to revise their plans for Tranche 1 spending ($4.04 million). This was a key consideration of the new Council as there was a strong preference to ensure the funds were used on immediate projects to benefit the community. Council provided a list of alternative projects that the funding could be used for in Mangawhai, Kaiwaka and Dargaville.
To change the funding allocation, Council needs to demonstrate iwi support. In advance of the meeting last week, support was not provided by iwi to reallocate the funding to new Dargaville projects. As a result, Deputy Mayor Larsen tabled a motion to continue with the original plans for the Dargaville hub and to reallocate the $3.02 million, currently allocated to Mangawhai, across several projects in Kaiwaka and Mangawhai. However, confirmation has since been received from iwi that those projects were also not supported.
Mayor Craig Jepson said while it was disappointing not to receive iwi support for the reallocation, the funds were still being used to benefit Kaipara communities.
“While the new Council would have preferred the funding to be used on projects that could be funded now, we know the community hubs have been long desired by the community. This will allow us to get them shovel ready and prepared for any possible future funding opportunities,” says Mayor Jepson. Without receiving iwi support the plans revert back to the original proposal to design the community hubs and purchase land in Mangawhai (if needed). The two community hubs could each include a library, digital facilities, meeting rooms and a multi-purpose space that can be used for events, activities and learning.