Free Wi-Fi for central Raetihi

By Staff Reporter

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Wi-fi returns to Raetihi
Wi-fi returns to Raetihi

A stand-off over Wi-Fi in Raetihi has been sorted - security cameras will be installed at the library next week and the free connection will be back between 5am and 10.30pm soon after.

A plan to introduce free Wi-Fi throughout the centre of Raetihi has also been announced.

Police asked for the free Wi-Fi at the library be switched off overnight because of an increase in vandalism and anti-social behaviour around the town centre. It was shut down on April 20.

A meeting on Tuesday night was attended by residents and representatives of the Ruapehu District Council, the Waimarino-Waiouru Community Board, police and Raetihi Promotions.

It was agreed that the free library Wi-Fi would be extended from 5am to 10.30pm every day after the council had installed external security cameras.

They should be operational from mid-next week.

RDC group manager of customer services Pauline Welch said community thinking around extended hours was that young people didn't need to be on the streets after 10.30pm and that these hours were long enough for tourists and legitimate users.

"The new extended free library Wi-Fi will, however, be under review in consultation with the police and the community," she said. "If any anti-social behaviour flares up once more and the police ask council to switch the library Wi-Fi off again after-hours, we will not hesitate to do so."

The council is also accelerating plans for implementing free Wi-Fi within the Raetihi central business district.

Ms Welch said it was hoped this could be up and running in six to eight weeks, which should remove the need for young people to gather outside the council office and library.

She said bringing forward the installation of free Wi-Fi in Raetihi would also benefit Taumarunui and Ohakune, which would both see free Wi-Fi in their CBD areas sooner than anticipated.

"Council also announced at the meeting that it would contribute $10,000 in seed funding toward the Raetihi Promotions project for installing security cameras within the Raetihi CBD.

"We have committed to holding another community meeting in around three weeks to discuss how the extended hours of the library free Wi-Fi is going as well as some other details around township-wide Wi-Fi and security cameras."

Raetihi Promotions chairman Geoff Anderson said they were pleased with the outcomes from the meeting and believed it provided a sensible and practical solution.

"Council's seed funding for the CBD security cameras is a great starting point and we thank them for that.

"We anticipate the project will cost up to $40,000 in total and are confident we will be able to raise that with community support," he said.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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