Greerton: What's in a name?

Greerton Mainstreet’s Sally Benning testing opinion in Chadwick Rd. Photo: Tracy Hardy.

The job may be done, but it’s not necessarily dusted.

The Tauranga City Council has decided the new Greerton Library will remain just that – Greerton Library and not Greerton Village Library.

But it’s a decision that has rankled the city’s third largest shopping centre and may have trampled on local feeling.

“We are disappointed with the process,” says Greerton Mainstreet manager Sally Benning. “We went to a council meeting recently and it seemed the deal had pretty much been done.”

And because it feels steam-rolled, the local business association will test local feeling itself. It’s launched a petition asking whether residents would like the word ‘village’ added to the library signage.

“We just don’t think local people have been adequately consulted,” says Sally. “The only consultation was them attending a meeting here in December.

“But people were all hot under the collar about plans for traffic lights at the Chadwick Rd roundabout and weren’t interested in the library. Not then.”

Now the council says only four people wanted the ‘village’ option for the library. “Well, the other 36 people at the meeting didn’t say they DIDN’T want it called Greerton Village Library.”

Sally says either they weren’t asked or they weren’t interested at the time.

So what’s in a name? What’s in that word ‘village’? Identity, pride, community and branding if you talk to the business association, locals and not so locals.

“Village is a beautiful word for a beautiful place.” And Esther Delport is a transplanted South African from Omokoroa.

“We call it the village and so I would prefer Village Library,” says Anette Smolenski.

“The word village better expresses the things that are here.” That’s Gaye who comes from Papamoa to walk through Greerton.

“It’s friendly like a village so they should call it a village” says student Polly Sutton. And a village should have a village library. They’re not vehement and not feeling wronged. They’re a few people expressing a preference.

Greerton Village is something that’s being going on in Greerton for 23 years. Sally was thumbing through the TCC’s Greerton Neighbourhood Plan of 2006.

“It refers to developing a village atmosphere, Greerton Village Square, Greerton Village shopping centre. There are so many Greerton Village references through this 56-page council document.”

Yet, says Sally, the council now claims there’s no historical importance, it’s only a branding. “All of a sudden it seems it’s something the council wants to dump.”

It’s also claimed Greerton businesses haven’t seized on the ‘village’ identity. “It’s fair to say the majority haven’t but our argument is Bethlehem shopping centre is actually Bethlehem Town Centre – yet you won’t find Bethlehem Town Centre Pharmacy.”

Greerton Mainstreet only had a week to prepare and present its case to council on whether Greerton Library should be Greerton Village Library. “With more time we would done our own survey and gone to council with facts and figures”

Sally says when they learned council was “information gathering” then perhaps they should have done something. “We were a bit slow.”

It may appear a fait accompli but Greerton Mainstreet’s going ahead with its petition. But when Sally took the petition to local retailers and businesses this week they were enthusiastic.

They said to her: “Yeah, yeah – we want the word village.”

“But if it comes out people are happy with Greerton Library then so be it. We are not kids.” And at least Greerton locals would have had their say, they will have been “adequately consulted”.