The Te Mata Park Visitor Centre achieved lift-off last night, as the Regional Council awarded $500k to the project in its forthcoming LTP. With Hastings having pledged $750k and Napier making noises about a fair share contribution in the $200k-$300k range, the flying saucer-like facility is airborne, with about one-third of the project cost secured … and with several additional major private donor pledges in hand.

All thanks to the foresight and persistence of Bruno Chambers and the Te Mata Peak Trust Board.

On the other hand, the Regional Council effectively ‘parked’ a potential $2m grant to HDC’s proposed ‘international’ hockey turf. Tempers flared at times … was Hastings ‘entitled’ to the money or not? In the end, Councillors decided to specify the various contending parties to this issue — the various voices of hockey, HDC and NCC — and kick the money into touch unless and until each and every one of these stakeholders can unite around a plan for advancing hockey in the region … with no pre-determined outcome signaled by the Regional Council.

This one might require a long runway to achieve lift-off!

Tom Belford

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