Council Approves Strategy

The revitalisation of Hawera’s Town Centre moved a step closer on Monday (1 Dec) after the South Taranaki District Council (STDC) approved its Town Centre Strategy.

The Strategy developed over the last 12 months by urban planning experts Boffa Miskell, involved considerable public and stakeholder input and was part-funded by Bizlink Hawera.

STDC group manager of environmental services, John McKenzie, says the strategy provides a suite of actions which will provide Hawera with an opportunity for a more vibrant and economically sustainable town centre.

Some of the key proposals include;

  • Development of a new Library/cultural/civic centre and greenspace in the central business district (CBD)
  • Improved pedestrian and car park connections with the CBD
  • Lighting improvements to highlight heritage buildings
  • Redevelopment of the existing town square for retail and office development
  • Actions to encourage traffic into the town centre
  • Guidance for heritage preservation.
  • Improved District Plan provisions to guide new development.
  • Facilitation opportunities for events and activities in the CBD.

Mr McKenzie says it’s important to realise that the strategy is not just about what the Council can do, but it sets out a framework that private developers and property owners can base their investment decisions on too.

“At the end of the day it will be private enterprise who will be key to the success of the strategy,” he says.

South Taranaki District Mayor, Ross Dunlop, says implementing the Hawera Town Centre Strategy will benefit the whole district and will also be a model for planning future upgrades in our smaller communities.

“Most rural district’s across New Zealand are losing population to the bigger centres so it’s essential that district’s like ours show leadership and have strategies in place which give the business community and our residents confidence in the future of our towns,” says Mr Dunlop. “Because if they don’t have that confidence they will choose to live and invest elsewhere.”

Mr Dunlop says that retaining and growing the district’s population is also important for South Taranaki getting its share of government funding which is predominantly population based.

“If our population declines it affects the whole district in terms of funding for government services like health, education, police – so doing nothing is simply not an option. The Hawera Town Centre Strategy will provide real potential to attract new residents, businesses and visitors to South Taranaki,” he says.

Mr Dunlop says any specific Council actions in the strategy still need to be considered as part of the Council’s 2015-25 Long Term Plan and budget which will be ready for public consultation in March/April next year. The Council will also propose new standards in its District Plan regarding how development should occur in the town centre.

Copies of the Hawera Town Centre Strategy can be viewed by clicking here, from the Council’s Administration building on Albion St, or at the Hawera LibraryPlus Centre.