A proposal to purchase the Tōmoana Showgrounds will be considered by Hastings District councillors tomorrow, as part of their deliberations ahead of adopting the 2022/23 draft annual plan.
Council and the Hawke’s Bay A&P Society are negotiating a conditional agreement for Council to purchase the site for $7.5 million. This is conditional on both parties agreeing to proceed with the purchase, and Council's decision will be made following comprehensive public consultation to gauge support for the purchase.
Should the purchase of the 43ha property go ahead, Council would have it declared a reserve under the Reserves Act, which would protect it from urban development.
The name, Tōmoana Showgrounds, would remain.
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said this was a new addition to the draft annual plan which came about due to the A&P Society seeking to sell the site after having owned it for more than 100 years.
“The beautiful Tōmoana Showgrounds is the entranceway to our city, it is a special place that holds significant heritage, cultural and community value. The showgrounds are cherished by our residents, which means we are giving the proposal serious consideration.
“Council will gauge the level of community support through our draft Annual Plan submissions process before making a final decision about purchasing it.”
The showgrounds host a range of important events on the Hastings and wider Hawke’s Bay calendar, including Horse of the Year, the A&P Show and the weekly Farmers’ Market.
Under Council ownership, it is proposed these activities would continue, with the opportunity for new and different types of events to be held in the future. The change of ownership would also allow the community to use this green space, in the same way they use other Council parks and reserves.
With General Purpose Reserve-Recreation status, no housing or other significant commercial activity could be developed on the site. It would potentially be managed by a Trust; a similar operational structure to the Council-owned Mitre10 Regional Sports Park.
The proposal is a major part of this year’s draft Annual Plan, which has forecast an overall rate increase for the 2022/23 financial year of 6.4 per cent, in line with that previously forecasted in the Long Term Plan.
If the showgrounds purchase were approved, that increase would be 6.6 per cent in the 2022/23 financial year, and would add a further 0.15 per cent in the 2023/24 financial year.
The Council meeting to adopt the draft annual plan is being held on Thursday, March 31, with any decisions on this and other matters incorporated into the consultation document that will be open for submissions from April 2 to May 16.
30 March 2022
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