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Putting the shine on the northern face of Thames

18 June 2019

The well-known Foundry building at the northern junction of Queen and Pollen streets in Thames is being tidied up thanks to some weekend working bees put in by a group of community-minded volunteers, with paint and materials supplied by the building owner, Chris Reeve, who also owns nearby A&G Price.

The building is known as "The Foundry" because those words were painted on it in the 1980s by a former tenant. A&G Price currently uses it for storage.

The building is actually a series of three structures built at different times: a concrete building next to the yard at the apex of the triangle formed by Queen and Pollen streets followed by an older brick building and then a tin-clad portion.

The volunteers have devoted the better part of the last few weekends to pulling the weeds from the yard and painting the northernmost building - the one with The Foundry written on it.

“This site was chosen because it’s a landmark building,” says Michael Jones, one of the volunteers who has been key to organising the working bees. Mr Jones works for our Council and is involved in urban development for Thames, but is organising this project in his own time.

“The Foundry site has been identified in the Thames Urban Development Strategy as a gateway into town from the north, Mr Jones says. It’s the first site people see as they come into the centre of town and as such is the face of Thames, so we wanted to improve the visual look of the building."

"There’s a wider strategy at play here: to get the community involved in making Thames a better place. The community has made it clear that they want growth, jobs and development," says Thames-Coromandel District Mayor Sandra Goudie.

"What do we accept as a town? What can we do to make it happen, to initiate conversations and start doing things,” asks Mayor Sandra. 

“The building owner is paying for a cosmetic tidy-up,” says Mr Jones. “This might generate other actions at other landmark sites.”

There will be one other working bee this coming weekend and that will probably finish the tidy up. To help Mr Jones and the other volunteers putting their spare time into tidying up this site, get in touch with Michael on 027 447 1219.

The Thames Business Association has been helping with the project and is keen to support other similar initiatives.

"Giving this building a makeover is just the start of a more welcoming north entrance to Thames -  watch this space," says Rachael Cheeseman, Manager of the Thames Business Association.

"The project has provided a feel-good factor for the wider community, with positive momentum created, Ms Cheeseman says. "The Association is keen to collaborate with business, community groups and Council, grow the momentum and actualise more projects that improve our town."

Thames Business Association has also negotiated a discount with a local cleaning company to clean windows and facades of buildings.

"We are encouraging business and commercial property owners to make their own buildings shine. The office of the Thames Business Association is being cleaned today - we're very happy about this," she says.

Get in touch with the Thames Business Association on 022 466 1031 or manager@thamesbusiness.co.nz if you can pitch in to help make Thames shine or if you'd like to take up the discount on window and facade cleaning for commercial properties.

Cleaning up the Foundry site

(Photo: the yard of The Foundry building sits at the northern junction of Queen and Pollen streets.)