Stoke residents have long wishlist

A multi-use community centre is high on Stoke's wishlist, but community feedback has revealed a desire to see wider growth in the suburb's retail, commercial and recreational services.

The results of feedback on how to shape Stoke's future were to be shared today at a public meeting, called Spotlight on Stoke, at St Barnabas Church.

The city council today confirmed that another meeting would also be held on Monday evening, following complaints from the public that a lunchtime meeting was too difficult for many to attend.

Council staff and contractors have been meeting and consulting with a wide range of agencies and people since early May. The main aim was to understand what Stoke residents wanted from the new community/recreation facility proposed for Greenmeadows reserve, but wider input on how the suburb might look in the future was also taken into account.

Greenmeadows is the home of the Stoke Rugby Club, which has sold its former base in Stoke in order to build a new one at Greenmeadows.

The new clubrooms were part of the wider community centre project, city council senior strategic advisor Nicky McDonald said.

She said more than 800 responses received for the consultation process was one of the best to date.

"We're really impressed with the level of interest, particularly around the news for Greenmeadows."

Feedback revealed there was strong demand for a multi-use community centre at Greenmeadows, with a wide range of interest from potential user groups such as sports clubs, U3A, Stoke Seniors, preschool, primary and "tweens", and for general community meetings.

Youth needs also filtered through the feedback, including comments that "Stoke needs more recreational facilities for young people, that are created and designed by young people". Others said there was no "destination" for teens in Stoke, while the parent of a young family said playground facilities were "very important" as they travelled to Tahunanui to make use of the playground there.

Response was also received on the centre's retail, transport and events needs. Comments included that Stoke was a place to "use the supermarket and get out of there", a place that needed a "greater sense of itself", that it was a "great place to live but it is the forgotten suburb" and that it "needs a facelift as it is looking tired".

The community wanted more shops and banks, clothing and hardware stores, and better cafes and restaurants, particularly those that stayed open later and on Sundays.

Residents also wanted better [and more] car parking, improved pedestrian safety, more cycle connections and better public transport.

They also said Stoke was "divided" by a busy main road, and a bus route was needed for people on the outskirts of Stoke.

Residents also wanted more events, especially for older adults and families. They said the Stoke Memorial Hall was now tired and outdated, the library too small with a limited range of materials and opening hours, Nayland Pool should be covered for year-round use, Isel House and Broadgreen House were under-used, and the Marsden Recreation Reserve needed to be better developed.

In general many felt Stoke looked "tired" and would benefit from beautifying the centre into a central hub.

Funding of $200,00 for the early planning stages of the new community/recreation facility proposed for Greenmeadows reserve has been budgeted this year. Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese said the wider financial aspects of the project, and who would contribute, would follow.

A second public meeting Spotlight on Stoke will be held on Monday, August 25 at St Barnabas Church, Main Rd, Stoke, 7pm-8.30pm.

The Nelson Mail