Pupils help council plan for the future

A theme park, a retro diner, widespread public transport and a pedestrianised town centre — those were just some of the ideas Mount Aspiring College pupils wanted to see in Wanaka in the future.

In late September, the Queenstown Lakes District Council ran an engagement session at the college with 120 year 11 pupils, to gauge their thoughts on Wanaka as part of the town centre masterplan process.

Pupils identified the need for more community facilities, events and areas to "chill out", as well as the development of a public bus network.

The council also took a survey about which form of transport the pupils used most often, and which form they used to travel into town.

The results found over 50% travelled into town on foot or by bike, and it was the most common form of everyday transport for around 40%.

A council report said the "overwhelming response" to how  best to improve the cycling and walking experience in Wanaka was to introduce cycle lanes and lower the speed limit of vehicles.

QLDC communications co-ordinator Tessa Payze said the session was "very positive and energised".

"Today’s youth are tomorrow’s ratepayers and we value that they can offer fresh ideas and insights to the master planning process.

"Their aspirations for the future of the Wanaka town centre aligned to those of the community in terms of wanting to have a strong connection to people and place, improving opportunities for socialisation and celebrating the natural environment."

Pupils would be asked for feedback on a shortlist of masterplan project options in March, during the next round of community engagement.

sean.nugent@odt.co.nz

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