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Land purchase paves way for Ngaruawahia hub plans

Revitalising the town centre of Ngaruawahia and the development of a community hub are the main reasons behind Waikato District Council’s purchase of the old Waipa Tavern site.

Waipa Tavern burnt down last year and following its demolition the former owner decided to sell the site on the corner of Jesmond Street and Great South Road.

The former owner was pleased to be able to sell to Council to enable the site to be redeveloped to support the rejuvenation of this area and looks forward to seeing the site become something the town can be very proud of.

The acquisition means Council has a block of 5225 sqm incorporating two Council-owned properties, being the old tavern site and the existing Ngaruawahia Library site.

The library is housed in a small, ageing building and before now there was not room for expansion or redevelopment.

With a project to deliver a new library, or community hub, provided for in Council’s Long-Term Plan, the purchase of the site was a strategic opportunity too good to turn down.

Public engagement for the Ngaruawahia Structure Plan process also confirmed that the community consensus is to keep the library along Jesmond Street.

Libraries are moving from being stand-alone buildings to being the anchor for community hubs.

A parcel of land such as the old Waipa Tavern site provides an opportunity to provide welcoming spaces for learning, creativity, engagement and connection.

Council also has a role in facilitating growth and development for the social and economic wellbeing of its communities.

The purchase of this key site in Ngaruawahia is anticipated to help create business confidence and enhance a prominent corner of the CBD.

As well as being used for a new library and community hub, there is an opportunity to develop the balance of the site, enabling rejuvenation of the main street for the benefit of the Ngaruawahia community.

Further work will need to be done to clarify appropriate positioning of the library and community hub along with preferred land uses for the balance of the site.

Waikato District Mayor Jacqui Church says this is an exciting piece of news for the people of Ngaruawahia and the future of Ngaruawahia town centre.

“With considered site planning, this purchase presents a real opportunity for Council to be a conduit to the revitalisation of the Ngaruawahia Town Centre, while also delivering on Long Term Plan commitments to provide the community with a new library and community hub,” says Mayor Jacqui.

“It totally ties in with our vision of liveable, thriving, connected communities.”

A project team will now be established to progress concept planning for the site, to be delivered as part of the Long-Term Plan.

Council staff will also engage with mana whenua and the wider community as part of the development of a strategy for the site going forward.