Article by Dean Taylor - Te Awamutu Courier
One of the outcomes of the Who Are We Te Awamutu? survey has been to identify a desire for more events and a better farmers market.
Te Awamutu Business Chamber CEO Shane Walsh says the survey, which was a joint venture between the chamber and Te Awamutu and Kihikihi Community Board, gave a strong lead for leaders of Te Awamutu when planning its future direction.
Working with the Te Awamutu Chamber Retailers Committee a proposal has been put together and was last week presented to the community board.
The proposal involves using the council-owned building that started life as Holmes Garage and was then known as Stuart Law Motors and Nigel Pitcon Auto Electrical, to provide the Holmes Garage Community Space.
Shane told the board Te Awamutu deserved a good farmers market, ideally on a Saturday or Sunday morning so it was accessible to locals and attracted visitors to the town.
“We are surrounded by great providers who drive through Te Awamutu to sell their produce at other farmers’ markets,” he said.
Shane said the best markets were undercover, so the consideration was where could this go in Te Awamutu and what other uses the building could have.
Holmes Garage was built in 1938 and bought by Waipa District Council as part of the original plan to develop Te Ara Wai next to the Te Awamutu Library.
Shane said now that Te Ara Wai had a new location, Holmes Garage was available for other purposes, and many successful markets were held in old buildings.
He said it also fitted an existing plan to create a covered area between Te Ara Wai and the library, linking Market St into Selwyn Park and the facilities and attractions in that precinct.
“The building is strategically placed so we are saying we would not want to sell it and lose the opportunities that location provides,” he said.
“The advantages are it fits the Ahu Ake vision, will create a stronger community, and will enable more events and activities making Te Awamutu more livable.
“It will also help activate the park and rest of the historic and recreational precinct.”
Shane said the other attraction was that it was a low-cost option — an existing building in the right location that needs minimal expenditure to make it earthquake-proof and clean out of the interior to make it serviceable and attractive.
With support from local firm Architectural Design Studio, Shane was able to present concepts of how the building would provide the link to the park and provide spaces that could be used for events and as a casual meeting space.
He said the plan would be for the site to be open throughout the day and closed at night.
Community board chairwoman Ange Holt said the board supported the concept and recommended it go to the Finance and Corporate Committee for approval to be advanced.
Concept by Te Awamutu company architectural DESIGN Ltd of Holmes Garage converted into an undercover market and community space linking Market and Mahoe Streets to Selwyn Park.
Te Awamutu Business Chamber proposes keeping the facade and structure of Holmes Garage in Mahoe Street and converting it to an undercover market and community space and a link to Selwyn Park. Photo / Dean Taylor