My priorities as your City Councillor:
Revitalize our Town Centre
The biggest issue holding Wainuiomata back is the condition of our Shopping Mall which sits right bang in the middle of our Town Centre. The mall is privately owned, so Council is limited in what it can do to help push a redevelopment of the site ahead.
However, what we can do is focus on things that we have control over – Queen Street, The Strand, the surrounding facilities and green space. We can work with businesses and property owners who want to see our town centre revitalised. We have a number of sites that would be ideal for a call centre or similar operation, the key is connecting the right people and creating an environment where someone would want to bring their business.
Queen Street needs a makeover and we need to look at how we can make the area more people friendly.
If we focus on what we can control, I am confident that the Mall will come to the party and start work on a redevelopment. To help make this happen we need to make sure the mall owners know about every piece of progress so they can start to see the opportunity that exists in our town centre.
Take Wainuiomata into the 21st Century
We shouldn’t settle for second best. We need to take our community into the 21st Century.
One focus of mine will be on the expansion and upgrade (in technology) of our community hub (Library and Community Centre) so it can offer more space for community organisations, entrepreneurs and small businesses looking for a collaborative and engaging working environment.
Free wifi throughout our Town Centre, and working with technology companies like Uber and Chariot to create more affordable transport options for people will also be a priority for me.
The creation of a one stop shop for everything Wainuiomata has to offer from a visitor and local perspective is also crucial in moving us forward in how we operate and connect with each other.
Sportsville will also help bring our Clubs into the 21st Century and offer players, young and old, first class training and playing facilities.
Grow our Population
A lot has been achieved in helping grow our population over the last few years. This is something that we must keep working on for the long term benefit of Wainuiomata and our City.
If we are serious about growth Council needs to bring the issue of a second access road back to the table. However, this time all options should be seriously considered and consultation must occur with residents before anything is considered by Council.
Attracting new businesses to our industrial areas like Waiu Street must be another key focus if we want to help grow our population. With the Hutt River being widened over the next 5 years, we need to be knocking on every single industrial business in the area and telling them about the affordable and good space available in Wainuiomata.
It’s also crucial that we continue to develop our infrastructure (roads, storm/waste water etc) so current service levels can be maintained, and new capacity added to allow for housing growth.
Access and opportunites for young people
Council needs to continue its support of Youth Inspire, Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, in Wainuiomata. This organisation has been instrumental in supporting over 200 disengaged young people into work and/or study. They are empowering young people and making a genuine difference to their lives – We provided funding and resources to get this initiative off the ground, and I believe it is crucial that support is ongoing.
If re-elected I will also be pushing for the introduction of the very successful Magic Card initiative here in Wainuiomata. This initiative provides low decile primary and intermediate school children with free access to Council owned facilities in our City – Libraries (printing, computers), pools, sporting and art programmes etc. It also provides access to transport.
Taking down barriers which hinder access for young people will help make a big difference in their lives and have a number of long term positive impacts.
Fiscal responsibility and transparency
As your Councillor I’ll continue to ask hard questions around the Council table and push for more transparency with Council finances and projects.
It’s very easy to spend other people’s money; I have a philosophy that when Council is making decisions around spending, you should always treat that money as if it were your own.
Rate increases should be kept as low as possible, and we should be prioritising funding for projects that make a difference for many, not just a few.