Town’s CBD upgrade on the agenda for new Council
UPGRADING of Te Awamutu’s CBD will tackle a wide range of issues, including traffic and pedestrian movement, although at this stage is not intended to tackle removal of heavy traffic, which the Chamber of Commerce has been promoting. 2960701AD
By Grant Johnston
Te Awamutu Ward has four of Waipa District’s 12 newly elected councillors. With one third of the vote and a number of issues in Te Awamutu due attention there should be some ‘moving and shaking’ over the next three years.
Moving and shaking is one thing new Te Awamutu councillor Michael Cox wants to see less of - in the main street at least. He made strong statements at candidates’ forums about his determination to see Council remove heavy traffic from the main street in the next few years. But the majority of his fellow councillors acknowledge there are no easy solutions to this issue, so I wouldn’t count on seeing too much action on this front any time soon.
The closely related issue of an upgrade for Te Awamutu’s CBD is another matter altogether. There appears to be a collective will throughout Council, from staff and elected representatives, to ‘get the ball rolling’ for this project. A community advisory group is being formed already. Widespread consultation means the upgrade will not happen overnight - but it will happen.
Answers from the successful candidates for Te Awamutu Ward to questions posed by Te Awamutu Chamber of Commerce at their candidates’ meeting provide an indication of how our councillors will be voting.
Michael Cox, not surprisingly, said he wanted to ensure that Council’s commitment to upgrade the CBD was carried out.
Graham Jull supported the upgrade of the CBD along with development of Selwyn Park. He wanted to see a comprehensive plan for the upgrade developed “that business wants and is user friendly for residents”. He said community input was essential to ‘get it right’.
Hazel Barnes believed the CBD upgrade should encompass the Events Centre, Selwyn Park and Anzac Green. The upgrade would be a key part of a goal to make Te Awamutu a destination to attract people to live, visit, attend events and want to spend time here, she said.
George Simmons did not respond to the chamber questionnaire, although during his previous stint on Council he promoted redevelopment in the Roche Street area adjoining the main street. At candidates’ meetings he has promoted the idea of Council leading a push for a more tourist friendly environment in Te Awamutu.
Waipa Mayor Alan Livingston says Te Awamutu CBD is definitely due an upgrade and he hopes there will be plenty of community input to ensure community aspirations are met as well as possible.
Te Awamutu Community Board chairperson, Dean Taylor says he has pushed for an overall development plan that would encompass the obvious links between the CBD and the Events Centre, Selwyn Park and the Rose Garden.
“It is fair to say the Board has been supportive of developments that have happened in those areas, including the Pioneer Walk upgrade, cleaning up the Rose Garden and the new public toilets. I see all of that area being an arts, recreation and heritage precinct - it would be reassuring to see a site designated for the Museum (Mr Taylor is chairman of the Museum Trust Board) as that would allow some fundraising to start. The Board has recommended a new playground be built adjacent to the Events Centre and has allocated funds for it. From a personal viewpoint, I’d like to see a bulldozer through the main street to get rid of the centre strip and better use of footpaths and traffic calming measures to make it pedestrian friendly.”