Town plans draw interest
Hundreds of people viewed potential plans for Hawera's new town strategy last week.
Several meetings were held over two days at Hawera's Dimocks Furniture store to present options to members of the public.
South Taranaki District Council project manager John McKenzie said he was pleasantly surprised by the level of interest shown by the community.
"At times, what councils do lacks sex appeal to the community and it's only when they see the bottom line effect on the rates notice that we hear from them," he said.
"But here's the community demonstrating that they do care about their town centre, that they do have some concerns, some foresight about planning for the future and that they want to be a part of a future plan for Hawera."
The council is working with Hawera's Bizlink group and urban design and planning group Boffa Miskell to develop options for a more vibrant and attractive town.
"The concepts that we put up showed, for instance, a town square with more green area," he said.
"There was a lot of support for a town square that functioned better than the one that we have."
As part of that, McKenzie said early indications showed residents were interested in a softer space that could be used to sit and socialise while eating.
McKenzie said it had been suggested that clustering council services including libraries, information centres and public toilets could be one way of pulling people into town.
"There was an acknowledgement from the community that could work well."
Boffa Miskell urban designer Chris Duffy said he was impressed by the number of people interested in any potential changes.
"It just shows the pride the people of the town have in the area," he said.
"It's good getting that local input."
The council is receiving submissions on the redevelopment project until Friday, August 29.
After that, Duffy said feedback would be examined and then they could begin to consider the next stages.