Chance to share views on precinct

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The future direction of the Victorian Precinct will be the topic for debate at the Grainstore Gallery on February 19.

At artist Donna Demente’s first ‘soapbox’ meeting last month, the possible closure of Harbour St to traffic was discussed and a working party was established.

The topic for the second of the soapbox meetings asks whether the precinct should be “a co-operative community of complementary businesses sharing a goal and vision to be unique and unlike anywhere else, or a competitive precinct of self-interested business people with no real interest in any kind of relationship with other tenants, or somewhere in between”.

Ms Demente said she hoped people would not see the topic as negative.

“The whole point is for people to come along and communicate,” she said.

She said it was better that it was out in the open and discussed, since it was important people could work together.

“In the first five to six years (of the precinct), there weren’t many businesses there and it was like a bunch of friends working with a collective vision.

“Now it’s changing; there are a lot of new tenants.”

Ms Demente, who is standing for the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust Board, which owns the buildings and administers the precinct, said the meeting would also discuss the possibility of having clusters of similar businesses.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said on Facebook that he would be attending the meeting, which is scheduled for 5.30pm in the Grainstore Gallery, Harbour St, on Wednesday, February 19.

By CHRIS TOBIN