New phase for South D dream

The Dream South D team (from left) communications and administrator Nicola Pye, manager Nikita...
The Dream South D team (from left) communications and administrator Nicola Pye, manager Nikita Choveaux, and project co-ordinator Rosie Hill, are thrilled with the organisation’s light and airy new space at 183 King Edward St. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD
The Dream South D community-led development project is entering a new phase as it approaches two years of operation in South Dunedin.

Formed in mid-2022 as a five-year partnership between the South Dunedin community and the Department of Internal Affairs, the Dream South D project aimed to "make great stuff happen in South D".

Manager Nikita Choveaux said the Dream South D trustees and small staff team had completed extensive community consultation, released in October’s Dream South D Community Feedback Report, and followed up in November with the Dream South D Community Plan.

The main community priorities identified were strengthening connections among people, enhancing amenities and beautifying local areas, and improving transport and accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists.

The success of the plan required people and groups in the community to come forward and work together, while the Dream South D team helped with planning, applying for funding, troubleshooting and providing support, Ms Choveaux said.

This year, the Dream South D project was moving into a new phase, having recently taken up residence in a bright and airy space at 183 King Edward St, at the heart of South Dunedin and close to the site of the under-construction South Dunedin Library.

The three team members — Ms Choveaux, communications and administrator Nicola Pye, and newly-appointed project co-ordinator Rosie Hill — are now based at the site, which includes an office, meeting rooms, and kitchen area.

"We are thrilled to be set up in our new space in time for our second birthday in June, and we are planning to hold an open day to welcome the community in to have a look," Ms Choveaux said.

The building was owned and had been fitted out for Dream South D by South Dunedin developer Justin Stott, who was leading the library build and was committed to the area, she said.

Ms Pye said, with the South Dunedin Library and Kmart under construction, and the work going on at the Hillside Workshops, as well as new businesses and service providers moving into the area, there was a "real buzz" in South Dunedin these days.

"So it is really timely that we are playing our part and working with local groups on some of our community priorities," she said.

"It is exciting to have Rosie on board with us now, to really help with the project delivery stage of our work."

This year, the Dream South D is working on planning and implementing a range of projects, including revitalising and beautifying King Edward St, running resident-led "playparks" to bring neighbourhoods together, and hosting events to bring the community together.

Ms Choveaux said the King Edward St revitalisation project was in the "scoping phase" over what could be done in the area and the resources available.

"The community’s wishes are fairly broad, around sprucing up the area and we are working to find ways to achieve that."

The playparks concept, which would involve creating events at parks and surrounding streets, was under development with an aim of being under way in spring.

Ms Choveaux said a lot of feedback had been received from the community around increasing the number of events in the area, and the Dream South D team was looking into the possibilities, including discussing a possible Christmas event with the business association.

Highlights among other projects under way so far had included supporting the new Gasworks Market over the summer, where local growers and crafters were able to sell their wares, and a successful collaboration to renew the Heart & Soil Community Garden at Musselburgh School, which had grown and distributed vegetables to local families over summer.