Naenae Pool was closed in April because of earthquake safety concerns, and returning it to the community has been made a priority by Hutt City Council. As well as engaging with the community on options to replace the pool, we’re also taking the opportunity to ask people about their vision for the wider Naenae town centre.
Council Chief Executive, Jo Miller, says the pool closure has impacted many people including local families, pool users from across the region and local retailers. However, she says, it has also presented an opportunity to step back and look at the bigger picture.
“In many ways, Naenae Pool was the heart of the community and we know people want it back. But we’re also hearing loud and clear that they’re concerned about the state of the wider town centre. There are many great things about Naenae and we want the town centre to be one of them. We want it to be a vibrant, active place again, somewhere people can be proud of. So we’re coming out to talk to the community about their aspirations for the wider town centre. We want to know how we can help put the heart back into it.”
Work was underway on a new community hub in Naenae when the pool closed and that project has been paused. The local community hall is also closed because of seismic issues. Over this time Naenae Library has extended its opening hours and is hosting additional events and Naenae Clubhouse is continuing to run its programmes for rangatahi.
“We’ve engaged with the community on other projects in the past and we’ve heard what’s important to them. We know the library and clubhouse are highly valued and we had planned to invest in other new facilities when this all happened. Now we’re taking the opportunity to build on what we’ve heard with a wider conversation about the long term vision. And it’s not just about us. We want the voice of the community to be heard by everyone who is working with, or in, Naenae. ”
People will be able to have their say in lots of different ways over the next six weeks including community workshops, face to face interviews and through engagement at displays and events in Naenae Library, Hillary Court and other parts of the community. There’ll also be online discussion forums at haveyoursay.huttcity.govt.nz/naenae.
“We’ll also be connecting directly with key interest groups, like those who came from around the region to use the pool, local residents’ groups and local businesses.
“In these first few weeks we’ll be sharing ideas and information about Naenae to help people think about that wider vision. We’ll be looking at the history and heritage of the area so people can think about which parts are important to retain. We’ll be looking at how the community looks now so we can understand how it’s changing. And we’ll be asking for ideas on what the best possible future would be.”
Information on how, when and where people can have their say will be on the noticeboards outside Naenae Library, at haveyoursay.huttcity.govt.nz/naenae and on Council’s website and Facebook pages.
A number of other initiatives are underway or planned to support the community while the pool is closed. Extra activities are being run for tamariki and rangatahi and we’re working with the Chamber of Commerce to support local retailers. We’re also partnering with Naenae Primary School to open their school pool to tamariki over weekends from October.
A large-scale community art project is also underway which sees well-known New Zealand artists working with the community to create a series of murals on panels along the front of the Pool building while construction takes place.
You can find out more about everything that’s going on, get the latest news, and sign up to receive updates at haveyoursay.huttcity.govt.nz/naenae.