Porirua needs to have an in­for­ma­tion cen­tre

Kapi-Mana News - - CONVERSATIONS -

For a city of nearly 54,000 peo­ple, Porirua has much to of­fer. There are his­tor­i­cal sights and points of in­ter­est, beaches, walk­ways, parks and many other places for res­i­dents and vis­i­tors alike to en­joy.

How do peo­ple lo­cate these sights?

Well, the in­ter­net makes life eas­ier these days – Google and the Porirua City Coun­cil web­site can point you in many dif­fer­ent and de­light­ful di­rec­tions.

But what if you’re a tourist who has run out of data on your mo­bile phone or an el­derly vis­i­tor who would pre­fer a face-to-face chat with some­one, or at least want to pe­ruse some brochures?

You would go to what most towns in New Zealand have open dur­ing week­days, and of­ten in the week­ends in this day and age: an in­for­ma­tion cen­tre.

When word came through that the i-Site in Porirua’s CBD was to be knocked down for the sake of progress, the gen­eral sen­ti­ment was: ‘‘That’s sad, I won­der where the new in­for­ma­tion cen­tre will be?’’ We’re still won­der­ing. The i-Site has closed, with the loss of two per­ma­nent jobs and two con­tracted roles. De­mo­li­tion is sched­uled for the com­ing weeks for the en­tire build­ing as the city cen­tre re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion process takes an­other step.

Ap­par­ently, de­clin­ing rev­enue and vis­i­tor num­bers meant Porirua City Coun­cil was not un­happy to see the i-Site gone.

In place of an out-and-out in­for­ma­tion cen­tre or Tourism New Zealand-ac­cred­ited premises, a small kiosk will be set up in Pataka. It will provide in­for­ma­tion about lo­cal and re­gional tourism and events.

Mean­while, the AA store in Porirua’s CBD will provide book­ings for In­terCity buses, In­ter­is­lander fer­ries and TranzScenic trains.

The AA has stepped in and good on them, but the whole sit­u­a­tion should have been han­dled bet­ter.

A city of this size needs a ded­i­cated in­for­ma­tion cen­tre, not a stall.

Yes, the in­ter­net has rev­o­lu­tionised the way we book, travel and dis­cover the world, but hav­ing a bricks and mor­tar shop front, with a smil­ing face wel­com­ing vis­i­tors to Porirua is what’s needed.

An in­for­ma­tion cen­tre is usu­ally in the heart of a city and vis­i­tors are guided there from the city lim­its. It feeds vis­i­tors into the CBD and that surely ben­e­fits re­tail­ers.

To tuck Porirua’s away in Pataka – will it be sign­posted? – smacks of a blase at­ti­tude towards pro­mot­ing our city.

There is an op­por­tu­nity that could well be missed. Could the coun­cil not utilise one of the other empty build­ings in the city cen­tre to re­lo­cate staff to? What do you think? Write to ed­i­tor@kmananews.co.nz.

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