Wifi ini­tia­tive di­vides town

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

Re­ac­tion to the South Waikato District Coun­cil’s plan to of­fer free wifi in Toko­roa’s cen­tral busi­ness district has been mixed.

The coun­cil an­nounced the plan last month.

While many could see the ben­e­fits it could bring in terms of at­tract­ing more peo­ple to stop and shop. oth­ers were con­cerned it could at­tract un­sa­vory be­hav­iour.

Carol Ewen, from women’s cloth­ing and com­puter ser­vice busi­ness Ab­so­lutely Fab­u­lous, said the main is­sue she saw was that most busi­nesses al­ready had Wi-fi.

‘‘There are also open WI-FI net­works al­ready, the li­brary has it, Mcdon­ald’s has it, so I don’t see the point,’’ she said.

The man­ager of a Man­ner­ing St busi­ness, who didn’t want to be iden­ti­fied, said she had con­cerns about van­dals.

‘‘Is it go­ing to mean peo­ple con­verge and just sit there? It won’t look good, es­pe­cially if they are try­ing to im­prove the look of Leith Pl,’’ she said.

Baremjid Sings, who owns Rice and Spice Restau­rant in Rose­bery St, was all for it.

‘‘It will be very good and I think it will in­crease our cus­tomers a lit­tle bit too,’’ he said.

Waikato Bed­ding Lim­ited’s Joyce Kani agreed.

‘‘It would be silly to say it’s not good. You will be able to get on there and have in­stant con­tact which will make it eas­ier for peo­ple to find busi­nesses,’’ she said.

Shop as­sis­tant Sue Mills said if it could help at­tract more peo­ple into Toko­roa she sup­ported it.

‘‘Hav­ing a big sign say­ing free Wi-fi in the town cen­tre is go­ing to make a huge dif­fer­ence, es­pe­cially to young ones,’’ she said.

Mills said since the Cam­bridge and Taupo by­passes opened more peo­ple were stop­ping and she be­lieved hav­ing free Wi-fi would en­cour­age more.

South Waikato District Coun­cil deputy chief ex­ec­u­tive Ben Smit said peo­ple with con­cerns over van­dal­ism needed to re­mem­ber it is go­ing hand in hand with the in­stal­la­tion of the Closed Cir­cuit Tele­vi­sion (CCTV) Net­work.

‘‘CCTV video is a known de­ter­rent to un­savoury ac­tiv­ity and should van­dal­ism oc­cur video feeds will cap­ture it,’’ he said.

‘‘Re­sults from oth­ers towns that have moved from Wi-fi hotspots to town-wide Wi-fi show be­cause there were more peo­ple out us­ing Wi-fi at odd hours, there is ac­tu­ally a re­duc­tion in van­dal­ism.’’

PHOTO: FAIR­FAX NZ

Free pub­lic wifi will soon be avail­able in Toko­roa’s cen­tral busi­ness district but not all are happy with the move.

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