Have your say on future of towns and city centres in Top 10 Kōrero

Have Your Say Local News People

Residents are being asked how NPDC can keep town and city centres humming and at the heart of communities as part of its Top 10 Kōrero, seeking feedback on the major issues across the District.

Ahead of next year’s 10-Year Plan, NPDC is going out to residents to get their views on how $2 billion of public funds should be spent and what should be done to meet the challenges ahead.

NPDC put in place a $20 million Back On Our Feet recovery plan to help local businesses still feeling the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown. The measures include rates holidays and an hour of free parking to encourage shoppers. Our main street building funds can be accessed by Waitara and Inglewood building owners and retailers looking to spruce up their shop frontages, and we’re helping the hospitality sector by cutting food licence renewal fees, dropping fees for on-street dining, and temporary road closures. We’re also backing the Buy Local campaign to support Taranaki businesses.

Cr Tony Bedford says the city centre and heartland town centres including Ōkato, Ōākura, Urenui, Waitara and Inglewood are the barometer of our economic and social wellbeing. 

“When their tills are ringing, they lift us all with jobs, visitors and more spending. The flip side is empty shops and for lease signs. In an age of big box stores on the outskirts of town and Internet shopping, we need a plan to keep them vibrant,” says Cr Bedford.

“That’s why we’re keen to work with retailers and business on a strategy to keep our central city humming for the next 30 years and beyond.”

Cr Stacey Hitchcock says the purchase of the Metro Plaza and the plans to open up the Huatoki Stream shows NPDC is already thinking about long-term ways to keep the city centre vibrant. 

“Our residents have told us they want a central city that has more green spaces, arts, culture and welcomes families, where they want to visit and hang out. We’re working on revamping Devon Street East with a plan for a new outdoor zone but what else should we doing to keep the city centre a destination for locals and visitors?” says Cr Hitchcock.

Cr Marie Pearce says it’s vital to keep rural heartland centres thriving. “Over the last year our community boards have been seeking feedback on what residents would like to see.  This could be sprucing up Waitara’s main street or doing up the railway station in Inglewood. It’s vital people tell us what they want so we can all work together to make the centres more vibrant.”