If you have spent any time in the Ōpōtiki town centre in recent weeks, you may have seen staff from Ōpōtiki District Council chatting to business owners and managers, getting on-the-ground feedback about a revitalised town centre.
Gerard McCormack, Planning and Regulatory Group Manager explained that the Council's project is to develop the look and feel of Ōpōtiki's town centre based on feedback from the community.
"I think most people would agree that Ōpōtiki's town centre is looking a little tired - old paintwork, empty buildings and dated street furniture. Ōpōtiki, like many regional towns, has experienced changes in how people shop and the services provided outside of the cities.
"The idea of the town centre revitalisation project is to get the whole community's buy-in to a town centre that is a vibrant place that you want to visit and spend time in. And to do that, we need to get feedback – what do we like about the current town centre, what works, what doesn't, what are some easy wins and what are some harder ones we can work towards.
"So we have been getting feedback directly from those on the ground here in town," Mr McCormack said.
Mr McCormack explained that it was about more than just cosmetic changes. The structure plan and design guidelines will provide strategies to guide the revitalisation of the town centre including future development
"We want the town to reflect the past, present and future of our communities. And we want it to be an attractive, lively and interesting place that we are proud of and want to spend time in.
"So don't hesitate to come up and have a chat or provide feedback through the Council website, Facebook page or on a form available from the library or the Council.
"The better we understand what the wider community wants, the more we know that people will be engaged with the revitalisation plan and be proud of what we develop together," Mr McCormack said.
Image: Image: Sue Robb, Policy Planner at Ōpōtiki District Council is chatting to Joelle Bettridge, owner of Joelle Eileen on Church Street about proposals to revitalise the town centre.