The summer break is a good time to look back and consider the successes and challenges of the year. It’s a time to reflect on the plans we put in place and will roll out in 2023. It’s a time also to think about the opportunities we have to improve our services to community.
While many of us will spend some time away from the office, there are staff who work right through. Often, they are the unsung heroes of our city, especially during the busy summer season.
They are the ones who keep the public toilets and amenities clean and the TP topped up! They welcome people to the i-Site, giving their own personal recommendations, and hosting visitors with as much kindness as they would their own guests. They are the ones who tend to our gardens and public places, during our busiest months. They are the cleaners who keep our streets tidy and Napier Assist Āwhina Tāngata who keep them safe. They are there when you bring your friends and family to Par2 mini-golf, Bay Skate and the National Aquarium. They are the people who keep our city going while many are taking a break.
Throughout the year, Council makes a lot of decisions about how we will continue to ensure Napier is a destination of choice, whether it’s as a place to live or to visit. It’s these hard workers though who make sure those aspirations are delivered. It is a team effort, with everyone doing their bit for the city, and the community, they love.
This partnership approach is central to the way Council works. Naturally, we work in partnership with community. We also have strong working partnerships with other councils in the region and with mana whenua. Examples of projects enabled through partnerships are the Ahuriri Regional Park, the Museum Research and Archives Centre and the Pettigrew Green Arena expansion.
Each of these will deliver benefits to all of Hawke’s Bay, with each party taking shared responsibility. The Joint Committee established to oversee the new regional park has members from Mana Ahuriri Trust, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and Napier City Council. Together, they will co-govern the project leading it through community consultation and development phases. The museum storage project is supported by central government and driven by iwi and councils charged with ensuring a safe, sustainable and appropriate facility for the Hawke’s Bay collection of taonga. The Pettigrew Green Arena expansion has seen the coming together of local authorities and funders, the community and sports codes to build one of the largest community sports facilities in New Zealand.
Some of the work we have done this year is clearing the way for significant projects that will begin in 2023. One of these, which is very close to my heart, is the Napier War Memorial. Currently, it is a bare piece of land with its three key elements being cared for off-site. Over the next couple of months, the Roll of Honour, the Perpetual Flame and the Floral Clock will all be returned to the site, and it will be transformed into a sanctuary in which to remember loved ones lost in war. I hope to share this space with the community in time for Anzac Day 2023.
Another project that began with going back to a bare site is our civic and library rebuild. This entailed a significant, very careful, demolition operation, which saw 80-90% of the building recycled. This ensures we can achieve a Green Star 5 rating for the new building, which takes into account how the old building was disposed of.
Once these two major builds are up and running, parts of the city will begin to take on a new life as hubs for community. As people move through and between these central spaces the buzz they create will support our already vibrant city. Improving links between parts of the city increases social connection and builds on the economic and cultural aspects that are already alive and well.
Much of the work we do is unseen by most. We have spent much of 2022 improving the resilience and sustainability of our infrastructure. This is especially in the areas of water and transportation.
For some of these projects we have been assisted with funding from central government. We are now able to improve stormwater infrastructure in Maraenui which in turn will enable housing to be built there, helping ease the housing issues felt across New Zealand.
We have also worked very hard on our drinking water solutions in 2022. This has resulted in the opening of two new low-manganese water bores each with its own UV and chlorine treatment plant. We’ve also received funding for cycleway conversions and to improve major entranceways into the city and we look forward to beginning work on these soon.
This summer, when you are hosting friends and family from elsewhere in the country or from overseas, enjoy showing off Napier to them. Bring them to our facilities, whether it’s Faraday Museum of Technology or MTG. Enjoy our parks, East Pier and Marine Parade. If you’ve got a full house, Kennedy Park will be more than happy to host your overflow!
And if you’re taking a break spare a smile, and a kind ‘Hello’ for those who are working through, keeping our city clean, safe and vibrant.