Kaitāia’s new town square won’t be fully finished until the end of February, but parts should be ready for locals and visitors to use by the Christmas holiday period.
A new town square is the final stage of the wider Te Hiku o te Ika Revitalisation Open Spaces Project, and contractors are working hard to complete the work, project spokeswoman Andrea Panther said.
Panther said it’s hoped the entire town square project will be finished by the end of February. A number of issues have prevented it being finished earlier, including the upcoming holiday period and ordered materials that are still to come, including for the waka foundations and planters.
However, she said, with Kaitāia set to have plenty of visitors and locals out and about in town over the holiday period, some of the town square infrastructure should be available to use, including some of the seats and shade umbrellas and part of the stage.
“With work being shut down for two or three weeks over the Christmas break, we’re hopeful some of those should be able to be used, but the entire project won’t be finished by then,” Panther said.
"So if people see the security fences come down, it’s just for that Christmas period so those parts can be used when we’ll have lots of people in town."
She said the site wold be very busy in the lead-up to Christmas as contractors complete as much of the work as possible.
Meanwhile, the much-loved mosaic tile wall, which had to be removed for the project to proceed, has had its tiles removed successfully and they are currently being held in storage.
The original wall, which consists of of mosaic tiles made by about 500 people in 1997, and the tiles will be incorporated into the project.
“We’re still working through exactly where they will go, but that’s a project [for next year],” she said.
The community-led revitalisation project will see 20m of the former Pak’nSave carpark made inaccessible to vehicles and transformed into a town square for central Kaitāia.
The award-winning Te Hiku o te Ika Revitalisation Open Spaces Project has helped transform Kaitāia, Awanui and Ahipara by installing 81 infrastructure, art and place-making developments. The Kaitāia town square project will be co-funded by Kanoa, the Government’s Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit, and the council, which has secured funding through its Long Term Plan this year.
The Te Hiku Open Spaces Revitalisation Project got $7 million of Provincial Growth Fund money.
Panther said the project also created employment, as a number of local companies were involved in the work, including OS Group Limited, Stonecraft Construction and Arcline, while High Voltage Custom Metal Art are making the bike stand from designs done by Kiri and Grayson Clark.