Pupils help coun­cil plan for the fu­ture

Otago Daily Times - - REGIONS - SEAN NU­GENT sean.nu­[email protected]

A THEME park, a retro diner, wide­spread pub­lic trans­port and a pedes­tri­anised town cen­tre — those were just some of the ideas Mount As­pir­ing Col­lege pupils wanted to see in Wanaka in the fu­ture.

In late Septem­ber, the Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil ran an en­gage­ment ses­sion at the col­lege with 120 year 11 pupils, to gauge their thoughts on Wanaka as part of the town cen­tre mas­ter­plan process.

Pupils iden­ti­fied the need for more com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties, events and ar­eas to ‘‘chill out’’, as well as the de­vel­op­ment of a pub­lic bus net­work.

The coun­cil also took a sur­vey about which form of trans­port the pupils used most of­ten, and which form they used to travel into town.

The re­sults found over 50% trav­elled into town on foot or by bike, and it was the most com­mon form of ev­ery­day trans­port for around 40%.

A coun­cil re­port said the ‘‘over­whelm­ing re­sponse’’ to how best to im­prove the cy­cling and walk­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in Wanaka was to in­tro­duce cy­cle lanes and lower the speed limit of ve­hi­cles.

QLDC com­mu­ni­ca­tions co­or­di­na­tor Tessa Payze said the ses­sion was ‘‘very pos­i­tive and en­er­gised’’.

‘‘To­day’s youth are to­mor­row’s ratepay­ers and we value that they can of­fer fresh ideas and in­sights to the mas­ter plan­ning process.

‘‘Their as­pi­ra­tions for the fu­ture of the Wanaka town cen­tre aligned to those of the com­mu­nity in terms of want­ing to have a strong con­nec­tion to peo­ple and place, im­prov­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for so­cial­i­sa­tion and cel­e­brat­ing the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.’’

Pupils would be asked for feed­back on a short­list of mas­ter­plan pro­ject op­tions in March, dur­ing the next round of com­mu­nity en­gage­ment.

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