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Paihia Town Meeting – The Paihia Master Plan

HELD 27 AUGUST 2014

Over 90 people attended the Masterplan meeting on August 27 held at the SCENIC HOTEL. Thank you to ROSS and his always helpful TEAM. The purpose was to revisit the 15 Year plus future plan for Paihia. Comments from the meeting held on April 9 indicated an interest in taking another look at it’s current status and future. The Masterplan was created in 2011 in conjunction with the community and with the help of the well-known Auckland architectural and planning firm Stephenson and Turner.

Tania McInnes outlined the Masterplan development and then asked the audience to use their three ‘post- its’ to write down the three things that made them happy, sad and mad about Paihia. This done, the next step was for the audience to split up into eight groups, led by facilitators from ROTARY and PROBUS and also to discuss and feedback on three key questions, namely things the group liked most about the Masterplan, things that the group would do differently and some indicators as to what would success look and feel like for Paihia in ten years’ time.

The content of this feedback is outlined here…

Looking first at the individual answers, as might be expected these were spilt across a wide range of answers, even when some grouping of similar answers was carried out.

Of the 162 ‘happy’ comments in total, structural aspects were the leading group with 39, mainly concentrating on the waterfront and Horotutu – Our Place. The next three groups, with 21, 20, and 18 comments, were about community spirit, the beauty of the area, and progress in the town. Also with more than ten comments were groupings covering the beach/ocean, activities, volunteering, and friendliness. Finally smaller numbers commented on the elements, tourists, space, and safety.

There were 104 ‘sad’ comments, with considerably the largest grouping (26) relating to loss of retail facilities, followed by security and safety (12), negative aspects of community relations (14), pavements and footpaths (10), while groupings with under ten comments were: beach storm damage; structural; parking; traffic flow; stalling factors to progress; not enough people; town tidiness; youth related; supermarket in town; and a couple on the positive side of sad, namely that we didn’t discover placemaking 30 years ago and that there was nothing sad.

In the 97 ‘mad’ answers there was some overlap with the ‘sad’ answers. The four biggest groupings were: loss of retail (13), town tidiness (13), negative aspects of community issues (11) and security and safety (10). There were then several groupings with between five and ten comments: supermarket in town, structural, parking, pavements and footpaths, traffic flow, stalling factors to progress, and the wharf development. Finally there were one or two comments on the quality of drinking water, lack of tourists, lack of kids’ facilities, and a positive ‘try not to be mad, here to enjoy’.

Click HERE to see PDF’s of the Happy, Sad, Mad Answer List

The main purpose of the meeting however, was the group’s responses to the Masterplan. Here each of the eight facilitators came forward to express their group’s views, which were recorded. Of the things that they liked best, seven out of the eight groups said the traffic plan rerouting the main traffic, six said the better connection between the town and foreshore, four said the waterfront, and three each said transforming the waterfront to a pedestrian thoroughfare and the uniform cohesive theme of the Masterplan. Two groups said the more green space and water features, and one each said the opportunity to touch the water, the rock pool and boardwalk, the current look, open spaces, and short term boat berths.

The three things that would be done differently were much more scattered, with only one point attracting consensus; a wider community stretching from Opua to Watea. Sixteen points were made by single groups, namely: traffic FREE zone waterfront, landlords contributing more to the local economy, theme-linked entrances, more effective linkages to the parking area – cycles and pedestrians, explore alternative road access, more grass, less concrete, de-industrialise look of shops, multi-purpose covered waterfront area, alternative weather activities, gateway Te Haumi project, bring forward the slowing down of the traffic on waterfront, more thought to parking, tenancy rates to be reviewed, get breakwater for storm damage, entrance appearance of business precinct, and communication re a private facility on the waterfront.

On the criteria for success in ten years’ time, while again there was a wide scattering of issues, there was one issue on which six of the eight groups agreed, namely attracting visitors all year round. A second grouping was creating gateways to Paihia, and there were two groups identifying a more multi-cultural feel. Beyond those there were nineteen offerings as criteria for success: vibrant community, people want to live here, safe welcoming maritime environment, pride, wider footpaths with conversation bays along waterfront, fulfillment of vision, improved safety at all times with permanent police, progressive community spirit, worldwide jealousy at what Paihia has achieved, extension to Haruru, Watea through to Te Haumi, stronger identity, public transport, whole community involved, improved maritime environment, more land and sea, resilient community, leisure activity focused community, no empty shops.

Thanks to all those who turned out, to Tania for leading it and to the facilitators for their time and contribution. And if you want to read the full tables of the individual and group responses, you will be able to find them soon on the Focus Paihia website, www.focuspaihia.org.nz , under the News heading.

Overall it was a very good and helpful meeting producing a lot of information. Clearly the general thrust of the Masterplan is acceptable, enabling the community to move forward with confidence. But there is also a lot of additional information providing food for thought across a range of issues. The next steps will be advised.

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