Pro­ject to re­vi­talise Waikato towns

North Waikato News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - CAITLIN WAL­LACE

A chance to re­vi­talise the town­ship could be head­ing to Te Kauwhata thanks to anew Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil Place­mak­ing ini­tia­tive.

The con­cept has al­ready been im­ple­mented in Huntly and other ar­eas of the dis­trict.

Gen­eral man­ager of strat­egy and sup­port Tony Whittaker said Place­mak­ing was a means of en­gag­ing the com­mu­nity to re­cre­ate their public spa­ces to be­come spa­ces for real com­mu­nity use and in­ter­ac­tion.

It’s an in­ter­na­tional con­cept that was well-tested, he said.

The Te Kauwhata Com­mu­nity Com­mit­tee has re­quested to be part of the con­cept but it was yet to be con­firmed, Whittaker said.

Huntly Com­mu­nity Board chair­per­son San­dra Ste­wart said it was a ‘‘mar­vel­lous idea’’ and each com­mu­nity group would take some­thing dif­fer­ent from of it.

‘‘We ini­tially had spent quite a bit of time last year in­ves­ti­gat­ing the Place­mak­ing pro­ject and de­cided there were quite a few on ar­eas to work on.

‘‘For us as a whole, our goal was to unify our town and to bring pride and vi­brancy back into our street,’’ she said.

Ste­wart said they had a few projects in the works that were still un­der wraps but the ar­eas the Place­mak­ing com­mit­tee were fo­cus­ing on were Gar­den Place and an al­ley­way in the main street to make it more user- friendly.

‘‘It’s all vol­un­tary so time fac­tors hin­der the process.’’

The aim was to get peo­ple to spend more time in the town, she said.

‘‘To bring them back into the town... not to just to rush in and do their shop­ping.’’

The in­ten­tion was also to in­cor­po­rate all ar­eas of town into the con­cept, Ste­wart said.

‘‘We have to en­sure it’s the best in­ter­est for the com­mu­nity.’’

Mini book ex­changes have also be­come a pop­u­lar re­sponse for book lovers who do not have a lo­cal public li­brary.

‘‘Place­mak­ing is the sort of con­cept that fits well with our town’s vi­sion. The mini book ex­change is a lovely sur­prise gift and grate­fully re­ceived.’’

In­for­ma­tion about place­mak­ing, the phi­los­o­phy be­hind it and the ad­van­tages for the dis­trict can be found on the Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil web­site.

For more con­tact Crys­tal Beavis on 07 824 8633.

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