Future Stoke development in spotlight
I live in Stoke and it sometimes seems like the forgotten suburb. What plans does your council have for my really cool, if often overlooked, part of town? - Dallas Clark
Rachel Reese responds:
Real estate agents say if you want a property that will be easy to sell, then purchase in Stoke.
With the attraction of our largest suburban service centre, good schools, a swimming pool, walkways, historic homes and gardens, this sunny suburb remains in demand for a mix of generations.
Heading up to Marsden and Ngawhatu Valleys we find our biggest growth areas of residential land. Stoke's population will continue to grow.
In planning for the future of Stoke it's important to recognise what's made it successful in the past and to build on those strengths.
Stoke is a suburb where you know the shopkeepers by name. People are friendly and welcoming. This is definitely a community worth nurturing.
So where are we focusing our attention? Here is a snap shot.
The first thing we're doing is asking the locals. Work has started on identifying the current and future needs of residents in Stoke. The second step has been sending councillors out to wander the streets, have a chat and get a good lie of the land.
If you see us out and about stop and say hello, and share your thoughts. It's not election year for us and there are no self-promotion flyers - I promise.
Getting local feedback helps us ensure future development is what the people of Stoke want.
Unfortunately, Stoke is already home to some pretty dilapidated council facilities; not least the changing rooms at Greenmeadows. Sports clubs have waited many years for new changing rooms, club and community facilities and we are keen to get started; ($200,000 is provided in 2014/15 to prepare the design with construction funded the following year).
This year work is also planned to remodel Nayland Pool.
The draft Annual Plan sees stormwater upgrades for Orphanage and Saxton Creeks commence. It might sound boring but Stoke won't be a cool suburb if homes and businesses are flooded.
Another gap in Stoke is a community place for teenagers. The last council planned a skate park, and while the idea and site weren't the best suggestion, a gap in youth facilities is still there. A good place for youth facilities may be alongside the Greenmeadows development and elsewhere in central Stoke.
Down the road we have the Stoke Hall and Stoke Community Centre. These are busy with activity most days of the week, but woefully cold in winter and well overdue for a facelift or more.
What locals tell us over the next six months will help us decide how we should use these buildings.
Strong walking and cycling links to Marsden and Ngawhatu Valleys are important to bring residents down to Main Rd Stoke, the Railway Reserve and Monaco, and to connect up the marvellous biking and walking opportunities through the valleys to the Stoke foothills.
We remain interested in supporting new housing models that will offer choice to people who live in Stoke.
Over the next year, the Nelson School of Music want to continue bringing music to our community while their doors are closed.
I've been having some positive discussions with them so watch out for the symphony in Stoke.
The suburban heart of Stoke thrives at Strawbridge Square despite this being the worst designed carpark in Nelson. Councillors are keen to put some energy into improving the square and surrounding streets. Yes there will still be free parking! Alongside this I'd like to see the library development happen much sooner than planned (construction 2019/20).
Over the remainder of the year, as we start our review of the Long Term Plan for 2015, I look forward to hearing ideas from those of you who live in Stoke.
In the meantime the Nelson City Council's draft Annual Plan is out for consultation.
You will find copies in libraries and on the council website.
Have a read and send us your thoughts on what you'd like to see for 2014/15.