It is always good when action is taken after the spotlight has been shone on a problem.
Last month Hawke's Bay Today ran a front page story following the assault of a 49-year-old man in the Hastings CBD by youths. The story reported CBD retailers expressing concern about safety in the town centre.
Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule called a public meeting at the council chambers for the next night and about 80 people attended. The CBD retailers at the meeting made it clear that the problems were not just perceived but actually real. The council deserves credit for listening and responding to the problem. I am pleased to report that its quick action has paid off and there seems to have been an improvement in the CBD.
The City Assist ambassador programme, which sees two teams of two council staff walking through the CBD and looking out for trouble, is working.
I work in the CBD and everyone I speak to says they have noticed a difference. A start has been made to reclaim our streets.
Even more good news is that Hastings District Council has agreed to employ two more city assist staff, in addition to the current four, to provide seven-day coverage of the CBD. It also agreed to employ guardians for the newly opened city skate park and night-time security for five months.
Quick action and a good plan have yielded a positive result.