I have fond memories as a child of the summer season in Ōtaki. Hot sunny days hanging out with friends at the “water tower” or tubing down the Ōtaki River. Since then many “locals” have come and gone, however the town still has that great community feel to it and in many ways I’m often heard saying, “that as a town it has grown up”.
The year’s passing has seen many changes in this great little community as the population has grown and shops have closed, others have opened. The next couple of years will be no different with the work on the Expressway beginning and also the refurbishment of the Ōtaki Pool. The pool will be a huge asset to Ōtaki and having seen the draft plans last week I’m quite excited.
Featuring a remodeled modern exterior, acoustic paneling inside to reduce noise and a splash pad outside free for all to use, it will be a popular attraction for Ōtaki. The design still has to be priced and then Council will meet with pool staff, clubs etc to hear their views on the final design. We will also involve the community in the splash pad design when we know what can be provided. We’re also looking at how the pool links in with the rest of Haruatai Park, the playground, walking tracks etc and some improvements that can be made over the next few years to make the park a great family/whanau place.
Work on the Expressway will also pick up pace as NZTA look to start the PP2O (PekaPeka to Ōtaki) section. With this will come many job opportunities, more money into our local economy and ultimately see the traffic issues resolved. Our focus always has and will continue to be advocating for the best outcomes for Ōtaki. I’m often asked what I think will happen to Ōtaki when the Expressway is finished and my reply is always the same. We don’t know…. but what I can say is that we are doing all we can to ensure we are in the best position we can be when the road is completed. We have fought hard and will continue to for what’s best for our community.
Well that’s it from me for 2015. I just want to take a moment to thank my team, Penny, Colin, Chris and Rob and also council staff for all their work this year. Enjoy the summer break and we might see you at our first ŌCB meeting for 2016 on the 2nd February.
Hei konā rā — James Cootes