Consensus for statue to stay put

Janna Sherman
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by Janna Sherman
The future of the Hokitika Pioneer Statue will be back before the Westland District Council next month.
The Hokitika Goldrush 150 committee has conceded its attempt to relocate the statue as part of the town’s approaching sesquicentennial celebrations. However, an alternative bid to move it into the centre of a downtown roundabout is still subject to a petition.
The Goldrush committee initially proposed moving the 100-year-old relic away from the path of vandals to a site outside the Carnegie Gallery and museum, and was told by the council that it first needed to get public support for the
idea.
Written and verbal submissions were heard at a Goldrush committee meeting last week.
Chairwoman Sonya Barker said the consensus of the room was for the statue to stay put after all.
“It will still be repaired but we will repair it where it stands and the committee will look at enhancing the area back to its former glory,” Mrs Barker said.
The committee was granted $10,000 from the council toward the estimated $12,300 restoration side of the project.
Mrs Barker said the committee hoped it could leverage off those funds for more financial assistance in the repair as well as beautifying the surrounding area.
The recommendation is expected before the next council meeting, in May.
The proponent of the alternative move, Jacquie Grant, said she had recently met with Mayor Mike Havill and she now expected her idea would also be formally tabled at the council meeting.
She said at least 150 people had signed her petition in favour of the shift, which she claimed would improve the streetscape.
“It would give a bit of continuity to the town with all the other art pieces that are spread around and give the town a bit of ambience, and boy is it badly needed,” Ms Grant
said.