Stu­dents plan­ning town fu­ture

Eastern Courier - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - TARANNUM SHAIKH

The How­ick Lo­cal Board and Auck­land Coun­cil aren’t the only ones who have some­thing to say about the de­vel­op­ing How­ick Vil­lage Cen­tre Plan.

Somerville In­ter­me­di­ate School stu­dents are con­tribut­ing ideas for the 30-year fu­ture vi­sion of East Auck­land’s pop­u­lar tourist des­ti­na­tion.

Coun­cil cen­tral and south plan­ner Tim Solomon says his team de­cided it was time to hear from How­ick’s young peo­ple.

He de­signed a les­son tem­plate for the class based on Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion guide­lines so that the pupils would also learn some­thing about how the coun­cil’s plans are de­vel­oped.

‘‘I wanted them to un­der­stand the process, so they could ac­tu­ally come up with ideas they could use more.’’ he says

He and four team mem­bers organised a visit with Somerville In­ter­me­di­ate’s learn­ing ex­ten­sion class, lead by teacher Day­alan Pil­lay, to see what ideas the pupils had.

It wasn’t long un­til ideas were flow­ing from ev­ery cor­ner about ex­actly what they want.

Stu­dent Leila Alsaback says it’s im­por­tant to main­tain the his­tor­i­cal build­ings that make up How­ick, but with a twist.

‘‘We should make them re­ally colour­ful and fun, be­cause that way in the fu­ture when peo­ple think of these build­ings as his­tor­i­cal build­ings they’ll be re­mem­bered as fun and vi­brant.’’

Young Archie Man­ning says How­ick Vil­lage needs to be more user-friendly for pedes­tri­ans.

‘‘There should be more open peo­ple-fo­cused ar­eas in­stead of more car-fo­cused ar­eas. There should be grassy ar­eas or just ped- es­trian streets.’’

Stu­dent Coco Ma says the build­ings in How­ick should be up­dated.

‘‘[The build­ings] are all the same style. You don’t see any­thing dif­fer­ent be­tween them.’’

Rahil Pa­tel agrees, say­ing a com­mu­nity hall with sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties, sim­i­lar to a YMCA, would be use­ful.

‘‘They need to make it more mod­ern,’’ he says.

All four stu­dents say they found the brain­storm­ing process en­joy­able and en­gag­ing.

It was also ex­cit­ing for them to know that their feed­back would be in­cor­po­rated into the coun­cil and lo­cal board’s draft plan.

‘‘The way the plan­ners have done this has made it re­ally fun and in­no­va­tive and kids don’t get bored,’’ Leila says.

TARANNUM SHAIKH

Civic-minded Somerville In­ter­me­di­ate pupils Coco Ma, Archie Man­ning, Leila Alsaback and Rahil Pa­tel.

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