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