75 to 80 people attended a special meeting late Sunday afternoon, 6 May 2012, to hear "arguments" for and against the restoration of the Tawa Railway Station building.
Angus Gabara (photo 2 - click to enlarge) and Cr Peter Glensor presented the Wellington Regional Council's viewpoint that the less expensive and less time-consuming option is to demolish the current building and replace it with a modern shelter costing around $600,000.
Bruce Murray (photo 3 - click to enlarge) represented the Tawa Historical Society whose contention is that the building is one of the very few left in Tawa of any historical significance and is worthy of preservation.
Allan Dodson (photo 4) of the Plimmerton Residents' Association told us how his community had rallied together to restore their railway station.
There was agreement that maintenance of the Tawa Railway Station building has been sorely neglected over the years, but questions were asked about the veracity of the Regional Council's claim that it could cost $1.5m to restore, with closure of the station for as long as 18 months.
The meeting ended with a "straw poll" of those present. Around 25% voted for restoration of the railway station. Of the two-thirds or so who voted for demolition and replacement with a modern shelter, some saw absolutely no merit in preserving a "derelict building", whereas others would like to have seen the station saved if possible but the projected cost of restoration and likely length of closure meant that they saw no alternative but to go along with the Regional Council's recommendation.
Where do we go from here? The Regional Council has indicated it will liaise with the Tawa Community Board in regards to the design of the replacement structure. Whilst this will ultimately be at the discretion of the Regional Council, it will consider some input from our end-of-the line (no pun intended). More to come.