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Ward Committee considers ‘where next’

Ward Committee considers ‘where next’ with township revitalisation

The Taumarunui-Ohura Ward Committee held a special workshop last week to consider the revised plans from Bespoke landscape architects that incorporate the community feedback on the original concept plans.

TOWC Chairperson Karen Ngatai said that the Ward Committee discussed having more detailed designs prepared which will form the basis of the next round of community consultation.

“Overall we were happy with the existing proposals for planting, a water feature and the lookout tower which we would like to be more multi-use rather than just providing access for a kids slide,” she said.

“There were however other elements that we would like amended such as using railway iron for fencing rather than the proposed warped timber and design changes to encourage pedestrian flow.”

“One key recommendation was to demolish the existing toilet block and replace it with a new toilet on the old library site. This will put the new toilets closer to the pedestrian crossing and allow the old toilets to remain in use while construction of their replacement is underway.”

Mrs. Ngatai said that the Ward Committee was also keen to ensuring adequate parking for cars and buses as the proposed new design would see the loss of a number of existing carparks.

“To resolve this we are looking at opening up access to the parking behind Hakiaha St and other things such as working with Enterprising Taumarunui Inc. (ETI) to encourage local business staff not to take up the Hakiaha St parks during the workday.”

“One of the projects suggested from consultation on the version one concept plans was that the shop verandas should be refurbished and considered as part of revitalisation project.”

“With timeframe requirements for the Earthquake Prone Building Act expected later this year the Ward Committee decided that any decisions concerning the shop verandas need to be deferred until then.”

“Depending on what any particular building owner needs to do, and in what timeframe, will influence the decisions they make about their building’s future.”

“In the interim council will be starting a conversation with building owners about whether they might do this work themselves or whether it would be better for council to take on the project and recover the cost via rates over time.”

Mrs. Ngatai said that the other major project discussed was the proposed plans for the Taumarunui Railway Station building that included moving the i-SITE to the northern end of the station, refurbishing the outside of the building, and providing space to community museum groups.

“When council reconvenes in August, they will be able to consider taking on the lease for all of the building, which would allow these projects to proceed.”

“While the Ward Committee is keen for momentum to be maintained there are a number of significant things that council and the community still need to consider notably around how any major township revitalisation projects are funded.”

“These will be part of the Long Term Plan (LTP) 2018-28 consultation next year.”


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