11 months ago

Selwyn Times: November 29, 2016

10 Tuesday

10 Tuesday November 29 2016 News SELWYN TIMES Bid to make better use of community space • By Tom Doudney SCHOOLS, CAFES and other businesses could be utilised to provide more community space. The new direction has been signalled in the Eastern Selwyn Community Spaces Plan which was adopted by the district council on Wednesday. A staff report which accompanied the plan said New Zealanders’ usage of space for community activities was shifting from the traditional community halls to cafes, markets, schools and other business and public premises. Most traditional community halls were no longer fit for purpose, inflexible, poorly equipped, had unused capacity and were disconnected from their surroundings. “There is unrealised and underutilised community space outside of usual operating hours in schools, cafes and other business premises,” the report said. “This [is] a step away from the current model which is heavily focused on providing more asset, not necessarily concerning TIMES CHANGE: New Zealander’s use of community space is shifting away from more traditional venues like Prebbleton Hall (left), and towards other venues such as cafes. itself as to whether that creates ‘waste’, or, whether the kinds of community spaces intended to be built will meet community expectations and needs.” Businesses making their premises available as community spaces outside of their normal operating hours could potentially be offered rates rebates or might benefit by providing catering services. Mayor Sam Broughton said the district council did not want to be replicating facilities that already existed in the community. “The council has traditionally had a lot of halls but people don’t just meet in halls, they meet in cafes all the time and schools have facilities that can be really good for community use,” he said. “It’s about working with people who are open to the possibility of their space being used. That can be good for business if it’s in a cafe and it means council is not spending money doubling up.” The plan calls for the district council to make seed funding available as a catalyst to activate use of community spaces. Things which might be funded could include the development of an online booking system, the management of community spaces and the introduction of programmes, festivals, art and functional landscaping. The district council’s own Rolleston headquarters would be made available for after-hours community use, starting at some point during the next year, as a way of leading by example. Retrofitting some of the district council’s existing ‘not fit for purpose’ community buildings would also be pursued. Schools approached in Lincoln, Rolleston and Prebbleton had been open to further discussions about their use as community space, as had Lincoln University. Exciting times in store for Rolleston District councillor Craig Watson writes about utilising older buildings when looking at town centre master plans Shortly is it expected that the Minster of Conservation approves the transfer of reserve status from Rolleston Reserve to Foster Park. This will give some drive to the implementation of the Rolleston Town Centre Masterplan. That is exciting. Rolleston can have a heart, a centre for it’s community and even more exciting it will help ensure that Selwyn has a true retail, social, sporting and supply epicentre. I see Rolleston becoming like Oamaru for the Waitaki or Rangiora for the Waimakariri, albeit on varying scales from our regional friends. There will always be a reason to head into Christchurch, but hopefully less reasons over time. Let us be an independent Selwyn that I think we can be. We received an interesting paper last week at council, entitled The Eastern Selwyn Community Spaces Plan, which you can find on the agenda page on the district council website. The paper was commissioned to help us shape our towns, it talked about (among other things) creating opportunities within existing spaces. That got me thinking. One thing that the Rolleston Town Centre Masterplan proposes is a new Library/Community Centre, one that is fit for the rapidly increasing population in the centre of our district. So what about the existing Rolleston Community Centre? The current plan proposes that the new centre will be on a different spot within the new town centre and the current area becomes another commercial/ retail area, but do we want to put up another shop or do we want to repurpose the existing building? If we were to repurpose the building what big picture (but low cost) ideas could we come up with? Well here are a few ideas I have thought of to get the ball rolling. Ideas that I think we are missing in our fledgling community or ideas that might have been floated to me while campaigning and of course some ideas that are just plain left field ideas because, as a new community, I think we need to take a few risks to make us stand out a bit. So to get the discussion rolling (remember this is early days and I am just one councilor throwing ideas out for the community to consider and feedback on) here are a few ideas to ponder and debate. How about a district museum to celebrate our heritage, an art gallery to celebrate our talent, a youth facility to support our growing 10 – 18 year old population, an above ground learn-to-swim pool to take the pressure of the Selwyn Aquatic Centre, a boutique movie theatre or a community theatre for local productions to feature the talent of our district? I am interested in knowing what you think? Please send me an email on CrCraig.Watson@ or on facebook on @Craig4Selwyn

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