The Whakatāne District Council as agreed to enter into a sale and purchase agreement for the Awakeri War Memorial Hall to the owner of the adjacent land, to facilitate the development of a significant tourism venture.
The terms and conditions of the agreement will remain confidential until the sale becomes unconditional.
That decision follows the Council’s consideration of an earlier report setting out the options for the future ownership of the hall, as requested when the matter was last discussed in late-2015. After hearing extensive submissions opposed to, and in favour of the sale of the hall, from community members and hall users, Council elected members voted by a 7:4 majority to:
- Address all legal requirements of a land divestment process, including arranging the relocation of the Awakeri Scouts Den on a like-for-like basis, or better;
- Erect an appropriate War Memorial to honour those from the area who fell in World Wars 1 and 2; and
- Divest ownership of the hall and land.
In deciding to enter into a sale and purchase agreement, Council elected members took into account the likely costs and limitations associated with retaining the hall in community ownership and the economic and recreational benefits for the local and District communities that will flow from the proposed tourism development of the site and the adjoining property. The planned facility will include a multi-million dollar, three-stage development, with the planned first-stage including the construction of a 10-pin bowling alley with games arcade and 1950s-style American diner. The second= stage would see the redevelopment of an existing truck museum, construction of a chairlift and zipline attraction, with walking and cycling tracks, and development of a park for self-contained vehicles.