Matamata-Piako District Council will be burning the midnight oil in finalising its long-term plan.
Communications officer Adele Preston said the council received 730 submissions, up on 482 when the plan was last reviewed in 2012.
The most common issue commented on was the proposed extension of the Hauraki Rail Trail from Te Aroha to Matamata and development of a Matamata Civic Centre.
Preston said the rail trail extension was favoured in 535 submissions, with a number also calling on council to bring the project forward.
In its draft plan the council said the cycleway extension, via Manawaru and Tower Rd, would cost about $4 million.
The council is suggesting developing the Te Aroha to Matamata link over two financial years (2018/2019 and 2019/2020).
A recent public meeting in Matamata and previous presentations to council called for the project to begin in the next financial year.
The cycleway extension would be rated for across the district.
The council previously contributed $500,000 for construction of the Paeroa to Te Aroha leg.
Preston said 131 submissions were against the extension, while 60 people voted ‘other’ with different thoughts and ideas.
The $8 million Matamata Civic Centre includes work on the town’s memorial hall, public library and council area office.
The council had previously planned to spend $1.5m on facilities in Matamata, but had since found the memorial centre needs serious repairs, the library does not meet national standards and the area office does not meet council service levels.
Funded by rates from across the district, the civic centre would be developed over the next three years.
Preston said submissions on the civic centre were more evenly matched, with 304 in favour and 254 against it.
More than 400 submitters were also in favour of creating more walking and cycling links in the district’s three major towns.
District mayor Jan Barnes said they had engaged with people at markets and community meetings and was pleased the community had got involved and engaged so closely.
“The people of Matamata-Piako are passionate about their community and this is reflected in the high submission numbers,” she said.
“We really appreciate hearing your feedback on these topics as it helps us to make decisions going forward.”
About 70 people have opted to speak at the hearing, which will run over two days on May 20-21 from 9.15am at the council headquarters in Te Aroha.