Over 50 residents gathered on Valentines Day with passion for the Eketahuna Town Upgrade.
Eketahuna Board Member and Upgrade Project Liaison Mrs Sharon Shannon addressed the gathering and shared the objectives of the upgrade - to create a relaxing peaceful main street that locals can enjoy and be proud of and passers by will be intrigued with and want to spend time in our town.
Mrs Shannon said, “the community had chosen to keep it rural and rustic because that was what the town was. People that keep it real, live real lives, who work and play hard and when something needs doing they get on and get it done. This is the way it has been for past generations, from the early settlers clearing the forty mile bush, to now, with the town helping organise a fantastic Hurricanes pre-season rugby game”.
PHOTO: Residents gather in Eketahuna to celebrate the commencement of the upgrade.
The Community Board wanted to reflect those qualities in the upgrade theme and worked with Dave Charnley of Prorata Design to build the concept of real people, real Kiwi’s living in real New Zealand. This has been key in the new branding Eketahuna “Real Kiwi Country” and will be incorporated into the town entrance signage.
The community wanted to reflect their point of difference and with an upgrade budget of $430k, replacing footpaths was not going to achieve the vision or objectives established. With community consultation and the shared vision from Prorata design, Mrs Shannon added, “We soon realised that for the concepts to be effective in achieving our objectives they need to interlink and to do this the library corner will become an integral part of directing our visitors to what Eketahuna has to offer, such as the Cliff Walk, National Forest Park, campground, swimming pool, playground and the proposed new skate park”.
Mrs Shannon thanked the businesses for their support in providing the champagne breakfast. “The Tararua Alliance team will be working with local business owners to try and ensure minimal disruption, but everyone in our community should bear in mind that it will be short term pain for long term gain”.
The crowd was introduced to the project team led by Dan Gerrard, Project Manager for the Tararua Alliance; Chris Edsall, Manager Tararua Alliance and Abdul Sheraaz, Tararua Alliance Engineer. Mr Gerrard spoke about the groundwork undertaken and is confident in the plans for starting the project. Grant Stevenson would be present in town each day and planned to update the community weekly with a progress chart, which will be displayed in the library window.
Cr Tracey Collis presented the project team with vouchers for Pukaha Mt Bruce and thanked them for their dedication and many hours spent working with both her and Sharon Shannon in preparing the project. She felt confident the Alliance team fully shared the vision for the upgrade.
PHOTO: Mayor Roly Ellis turns the first piece of soil.
Mayor Roly Ellis congratulated the Eketahuna Community Board on getting the project to this stage and running so smoothly, and said he looked forward to seeing it completed.
He turned the first piece of soil to a round of applause.