APRIL 2017 - Welcome to Gisborne City Specials - Things to see and do in Tairawhiti-Gisborne District. New info. photos added daily. #Gisborne
The H.B. Williams Memorial library is a much-loved establishment and is one of the most used council facilities, with up to 5000 visitors a week. Our library is so much more than just a depository for books. It is a hub where friends meet, where students do their research and where our kids learn how to love books, master reading and develop a thirst for learning. I take my two boys to the library every second Friday, and I can see that our library is bursting at the seams - and that this redevelopment will be loved and welcomed by all library users.
The library has had a long history by New Zealand standards. It first opened in 1869 as the Turanga Library, in a room in the courthouse. Patrons came by horseback or boat to the district and there were no roads overland. The library moved to several sites as its popularity grew. In 1967, the land and buildings for the existing public library in Peel Street were donated by the Williams family in memory of Heathcote Beetham Williams and the H.B. Williams Memorial Library was established, much as we know it today. The Williams family is still very involved with the library project and made another generous donation to assist in the redevelopment.
My favourite part of the library is the beautiful stained glass window currently occupying the back wall. Unveiled in 1993, the window measures nearly 40 square metres. Steve Hutton designed this artwork and 95 percent of the glass is hand-blown, handmade glass. Local kaumatua monitored the construction, ensuring the window was historically and spiritually correct. The design depicts the passage of time and development of Tairawhiti from volcanic origins to present day. Midway through the design is an impression of Te Toka a Taiau, a rock symbolising the boundary that lies between the Ngati Porou and Rongowhakaata iwi. Crystal and shards of gemstones have been incorporated into the window. Next time you visit the library, make sure to take a closer look. The stained glass window will have a suitably prominent spot in the new foyer of the refurbished library.
The library services are moving to the old Gilmores building in Awapuni Road for the construction period. Staff and professional movers are relocating the majority of the books and computers and, from March 6, we will have a fully functional library service again. If you use the bus to get to the library, make sure to check the changes that have been incorporated into the bus route to accommodate the new venue. If all goes well, we will open the doors to the new, refurbished H.B. Williams Memorial Library in early 2018. Exciting times ahead.
It has been a bumpy ride in local politics lately.
Everyone involved experienced this recent election as a super-charged, stressful time – I for one are happy that the next one is a good three years away!
Then voting day arrived and we had to bid farewell to some of our colleagues who weren’t re-elected or retired, and last, but not least, we had to welcome a group of newcomers to the inner circle.
It would be fair to say that it wasn’t all smooth sailing this past 6 weeks since the election either, but we put all that behind us late last week when we got together for two very successful induction days.
New, as well as seasoned Councillors, worked side by side to share their visions and dreams and aspirations and to define our combined strategic direction for our lovely region. Aside from the obvious planning outcomes from these days, we all got to know each other better, socialise a bit and focus on our individual, as well as our collective strengths.
My feeling is that it shaped us as a team who are all keen to paddle our waka in the same direction. It was also a good time to get to know the newbies better. Karen, Malcolm and Shannon impressed me and all three are passionate, eager to learn and ready to get to work.
Well, this week, they will get a taste of what Council is really about. Between the four Committee agendas, they have 538 pages to absorb and make sense of, but I am sure that they will be ready with their contributions come committee time.
Feel free to pop in to our meetings at the Cozzie Club this Wednesday and Thursday. Most parts of the meetings are open to the public – the meeting schedule is on the GDC website.
Large parts of the agendas will be business as usual, but there are several activity reports to inform the new Councillors of what their committees are responsible for. Jeremy gave a broad overview of most agenda items on Saturday, so I will focus on a couple that I think will be of interest.
From the Environmental Planning and Regulations agenda, the item that will interest nearly every resident is the CBD Parking Policy option paper.
There was a public outcry when GDC doubled the parking fees to $2/hour a couple of years ago. Even though it is not high compared to other centres, it was a general feeling amongst residents that it was too high for Gisborne.
Anecdotal evidence by shop owners claim that the high parking fees are keeping their customers away and that it contributes to a dying CBD.
So Council officers are investigating options ranging from free parking, the first hour free, a maximum of $1.50/hour or sticking to the status quo. Consultation with the public will happen in the next couple of months, so watch this space.
Another item that features on the Assets and Infrastructure Committee agenda is the “Safe Systems Approach to Roading” and this report investigate and prioritise concerns raised by residents about the safety of their neighbourhood streets.
A good example is Lytton Road/ Potae Street intersection and another one is the Childers Road-Roebuck Road intersection. The committee will receive an update on these projects and the team from Tairawhiti Roads will be there to present their report.
These concerns are part of the bigger roading picture and will get ranked against other priorities. Not an easy task for the committee members when you have several very worthy contenders vying for the same pot of money.