Town square concept for Motueka

ALASTAIR PAULIN
Last updated 14:27 15/05/2014
Parklands Schoo
ALASTAIR PAULIN
PLACE MAKING: The pathway to Parklands School from High St, Motueka, which is to be redesigned.

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The heart of Motueka is to become more welcoming and the public is being invited to give its input into how to make that happen.

Parklands School is redesigning its High St entrance and in the process wants to help transform the forecourt outside the museum into a lively, attractive community space.

The school owns a strip of land at the south end of the forecourt, where there has been a dark and fenced-off pathway into the school.

Marion Edwin, who is leading the effort on behalf of the school, said: "What we've got is a space that is ugly, doesn't look welcoming and doesn't add much to the community.

"Our purpose, which is the entry to the school, is really a sideline issue.

"We want to take advantage of this opportunity to improve the space for the community."

Marion's group is using David Engwicht's planning concept of "place making" as its guiding principle, with the goal of making the space one where people want to gather, and can have the types of spontaneous meetings and conversations that are part of the heart of a community - a Motueka Town Square.

The school has already removed most of the fence that defined the path for the past 14 years.

Marion said her group had spent the past year having conversations with all the stakeholders, such as the museum, Muses cafe, the police, the Tasman District Council, and local iwi, and now understood what could be moved and what must stay.

Now it is the time for the wider community to get involved and offer ideas for what they would like to see.

Marion said some possibilities included murals, water features, and seating, along with new landscaping.

A public meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 20, at 5.30pm, to introduce the project and on the following Saturday from 1.30pm a hui will be held to start the brainstorming process. Both events will be in Parklands School's Aniwaniwa room.

The protected Himalayan cedar that towers over the area cannot be removed but Marion said she hoped some of the undergrowth could be cleared and new planting done in time for spring.

The school will also put up new signs at the High St entrance, and "use the opportunity to connect with Maori culture, especially given that 30 per cent of our student body identifies as Maori".

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