Porirua needs to have an information centre
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 email@example.com.