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The Mall is not a Wainuiomata problem; it’s a Mall problem

The state of the Wainuiomata Mall is not a Wainuiomata problem; it’s a Mall problem that has existed for 10 years plus.

In fact Wainuiomata has a number of exciting developments and initiatives, which are either on going or soon to be started. We have over 100 homes planned for the Parkway Extension (both sides of the road), which will be built over the next few years. We are on the brink of securing a $20-30m retirement village at Hugh Sinclair Park. $9m is being invested into a 4m wide protected shared walk/cycle path over the Wainuiomata Hill, which will be completed over the next 2 financial years.

House prices continue to be some of the most affordable in the region, and sale statistics show that we are attracting more families and young professionals than ever before. Sportsville is gaining momentum, and we have a fantastic gym that is going from strength to strength. We are the gateway to the outdoors with our mountain bike tracks, bush walks, campsites, golf course, coastline and stunning views.

Of course we have our challenges, but in no way does the Mall’s problems characterize or reflect on Wainuiomata generally.

There is no question that we all agree that something needs to happen with the Mall, but there is no point in continuing with the thought that ‘it use to be great’ or simply pointing the finger at Mall Management.

Instead, lets focus on things that we can control. Lets work with building owners and people in the private sector who can and want to make our town centre a more vibrant place NOW.

In December last year I was reflecting on what my priorities would be for 2016, and near the top of my list I put down working with who I can to transform our town centre, knowing that eventually the Mall would do something once they see everything else happen around them.

Here’s some of my thoughts and a few examples of what I will be focusing on this year:

  • I want to see office space developed above our Queen Street shops and target small businesses, start ups, call centres etc to move in with the attraction of some of the lowest rent costs in the region. This would not only help existing businesses, but it would also attract cafes, coffee as well as provide local jobs for local people.
  • As a part of our Development Plan, I want to see Queen Street and the Strand turned into attractive shared spaces for cars, cyclists, walkers and relaxers. Free Wifi should be on offer across the whole area and the entrance of Queen Street must be opened up so visitors passing by know it’s there.
  • With the Hutt River being widened over the next 5 years, we need to be knocking on every single manufacturing business on Pharazyn Street and telling them about the space available down Waiu Street. The more people working in the Valley the better for our town centre.

If we can get cracking on all of this, alongside all the good things happening already, then I’m confident the Mall will pull its socks up and come with us. But if it doesn’t, so be it… We will still be creating a more vibrant town centre, and stronger Wainuiomata.

Of course I can’t do all this by myself! – I’m keen to hear your thoughts/ideas and get in touch if you would like to help.

Congratulations to Tama for winning Harcourts Wainuiomata Welcome to Wainuiomata sign competition

“Welcome to Wainuiomata” Sign Competition

I would like to say a special thank you to Harcourts Wainuiomata for there work on this. Also a special thanks to everyone who submitted designs and voted. Tama and I will now work with Council to make the winning design happen. We are hoping for it to be all completed by April 2016.

Here is a release from the team at Harcourts…

Harcourts Wainuiomata would like to congratulate “Tamariki Ferguson” for his 1st place design in the “Welcome to Wainuiomata” Sign Competition for 2015!

We, here at Harcourts, had a blast running this competition over the last couple of months and it was fantastic to see so many people (the voting post on Facebook reached over 14,000) in the community supporting something so positive and having the opportunity to voice their opinions on how they wanted to welcome visitors into our community. An extra “Congratulations” must also go out to all of the other designers, particularly the rest of our top 4 (Jan Almond, Nicola Jones and Jess Thimbleby) – you were all very deserving designers and did some really great work so, a big “Thank you very much”. We’d also like to Thank the panel of judges who selected the design finalists – Trevor Mallard, Linda Olsen & Ruth O’Grady.

When talking about the inspiration for his winning design, Tamariki said that “… it comes from our community itself. A diverse range of cultures that live in a vibrant and growing place that is unique to anywhere else in the Wellington region…The 2 carved posts on the sides (Pou) are like spiritual Guardians welcoming people to and protecting our community. These will be adorned with carvings/symbols from each of the 5 continents (All cultures) represented in Wainuiomata as well.

The 3 Green curved lines represent the rivers/creeks that run through our valley, The Hill shaped top represents the hills that surround us and the brushed steel plate represents the contemporary way forward. The 3 shades of GREEN represent the colour with which our community is most identifiable with/for out on the sports/recreational fields. Although modern in look, having traditionally carved posts pays homage to our Tangata Whenua and Early Settlers to the Valley.”

Tamariki will work alongside Campbell Barry & the council to see his design now come to life. We look forward to seeing his fantastic creation up on the hill, welcoming visitors to our community in the near future.

A huge Congratulations once again Tamariki and a big Thank you to all of the Wainuiomata community for your fantastic support throughout the competition.

To celebrate Tama’s victory, we had a Community BBQ outside the Harcourts Wainuiomata office together with the fantastic designers & judges and all of the Wainuiomata community.

With Tama at the BBQ party