Detailed plans for George St revamp unveiled

Bespoke paving, a cultural narrative and space for people to dine and trade have emerged as prominent themes in the planned makeover of Dunedin's main shopping street.

The Dunedin City Council has unveiled detailed designs for its revamp of George St and nearby streets in the central city.

Central city project plan director Dr Glen Hazelton said the streetscape would reflect the uniqueness of Otepoti, its history and diverse cultural elements.

Part of the thinking was to create spaces where, post-Covid-19, people would feel comfortable coming together again.

Just over $28 million is being spent on the upgrade.

It is hoped the environment will be welcoming and inclusive for residents and visitors and positive for businesses.

"I think it will bring people back," Dr Hazelton said.

Recognition of mana whenua is a feature.

A render of the Meridian block. Supplied: DCC
A render of the Meridian block. Supplied: DCC
The shape of paving units will be based on the definition of Otepoti and traditional patterns on the windows of Otakou marae will also be referenced.

There is to be a nod to Dunedin's status as a Unesco City of Literature with phrases from writers such as Janet Frame and Hone Tuwhare.

The council said the redesign of George St would seek to showcase Dunedin's colonial heritage.

This would be developed through creating space where people could get a better view of architectural facades.

"Put together, the different elements outlined in the developed designs will improve the safety, accessibility and amenity of the area, and help to create a vibrant, compelling destination where people will want to spend time and money," Dr Hazelton said.

Three blocks in the upgrade will each have their own themes.

Public art could be prevalent in the Farmers block.

Outdoor entertainment could be catered for in the Golden Centre block and people could get their "golden Instagram moment" there, Dr Hazelton said.

A render of the New Edinburgh Way block. Supplied DCC
A render of the New Edinburgh Way block. Supplied DCC
He described the New Edinburgh Way block as like an urban lounge for trade, exchange and kai.

Consulting firm Aukaha was contracted to work on behalf of mana whenua through the George St capital works project, incorporating a Ngai Tahu narrative through the design.

Aukaha mana whenua advisory panel member Megan Potiki said it was paramount for Maori to recognise themselves and feel welcome in Dunedin's city centre.

It was also an opportunity for people less familiar with Ngai Tahu culture to gain more understanding.

"This is a chance for the descendants of Kai Tahu to reinstate themselves back in the city and be visible in our community," Mrs Potiki said.

Council chief executive Sandy Graham said the designs reflected a genuine partnership with mana whenua.

They would transform George St into a modern and vibrant environment, she said.

Some works had been carried out since late last year.

The central city upgrade was driven by the need to replace old infrastructure under ground. This also created a chance to adjust the look of the central city above ground.

Construction work is to start in George St after Easter, beginning with the Farmers block.

The central city revamp is due to be completed in 2024.

Comments

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This should be good. I'm so looking forward to reading the comments!

Lock them up and throw away the key what a waste of money.

So irrespective of what the public wants council still intend to close George St off whenever the mood takes them. A bunch of clowns that have learned nothing from their previous cack handed efforts around the Octigan.

From the Golden Centre block image, it looks like we would be losing the existing magnificent tree adjacent to the Foodcourt doors (left side of image). Surely not! We like the tree very much and especially enjoy viewing the tree from the upper level cafe in the mall. Save the tree!

I'm not sure just how accurate these images are intended to be. None of the cyclists are wearing helmets and nobody is begging in any of them.

It's good to see the planners and council have ignored the wishes of the people. Do they ever stop to think who funds them? The elections cannot come soon enough, I will vote for anyone who stops this wasteful nonsense.

This will certainly be a waste of money.

Great idea developing a block for Instagram - only Dunedin City Council could do that.

Also great that the relationship with manu whenua has been repaired otherwise these designs couldn’t have been cobbled together in the last week.

In the Exchange, they should add some poles for the pole dancers - representative of the venues down there.

'Also great that the relationship with manu whenua has been repaired otherwise these designs couldn’t have been cobbled together in the last week'. Other cultures are available.

And the cost to the ratepayers to get this far is?

I only live 10k out of town and haven’t walked on George Street for nearly five years. This lame effort is unlikely to bring me back! What a waste of my rates, thank goodness for online shopping!

For an really "inclusive city" and for the proper politically correct philosophy to be observed in the design and features, Gorgeous George St would have to include LGBT+++ "rainbow crossings" as well as remove all references to our colonial past. What a grand feature that would make!

Hmmm, I hope DCC haven't forgotten any groups to signal their virtue to. We are normal and we want our freedom!

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