Gisborne's central city is being watched
Cary Walker, Matt Matenga and Kevin Barrett are the new eyes and ears of Gisborne’s central business district. As council’s new City Watch team they will be watching over the central city to improve safety. They will be assisting retailers with shoplifters, keeping footpaths free of skateboarders and liaising with groups that use the central city. Part of their job is to provide information to visitors and resident’s ensuring they make the most of their time in the central city and stay safe.
They will be visible in the city centre during the peak hours retailers are open and for some special events. Last weekend they were on the streets during Saturday’s Christmas parade. When not on the streets they can be found in the city watch office, opposite McDonalds in Bright Street.
Between them Cary, Matt and Kevin have many years experience in the police, security and the community. All are actively involved in sports with Matt recently achieving a second place in the NZ national bodybuilding competition. Helping keep Gisborne city safe and our visitors happy is what the city watchers are looking forward to the most.
Council’s city watch team leader Paul Stuart says the main objective of the project is to assist retailers and add to community safety. “Council collects a targeted rate from commercial buildings in the central business district which funds the patrols. There is an expectation that an effective service is provided that benefits central city businesses and users. The team members are good communicators and well informed. They will be able to provide information about our city; whether it’s answering questions on where to find a city map or giving directions to the nearest public toilet. Locals and visitors can have confidence that the city watch team will steer them in the right direction.”
Council has provided patrols in the central city since 1998. Previously they were called the 101 patrols they were staffed by people who met Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) Task Force Green subsidy criteria. The service has not been provided for the last 12 months and after a review of the service, Heart of Gisborne committee expressed a preference for the roles to be performed by council staff. They supported the idea that council employees could bring a reliable, recognisable service with permanent staff performing a wider range of services.