$20 million city plan ‘essential’

An Invercargill City councillor believes the $20million inner-city plan was not only "a nice idea, but an essential" part of revitalising the heart of the city.

Lesley Soper said during an infrastructural services committee meeting yesterday she remembered her excitement when she visited the city centre as a child.

She believed this sense of "pride" had been lost in the recent years; she hoped the news plans would fix that.

H&J Smith chief executive John Green, chairman of the governance group, which oversees the project, presented the plan to councillors who approved it unanimously.

He said it was a framework instead of a blueprint and was "an investment for the future".

Mr Green also cited concerns over parking.

Some retailers were worried about the potential loss of car parks in the area.

"The city centre is for people not cars."

He said council’s staff was working on a parking strategy which would be presented to councillors in February.

However, he said 700 parking spaces would be available in the new inner-city development and people would need to change their habits and get used "to not parking their cars right outside the shops".

The plan, prepared by the Isthmus Group, identified key problems in the inner-city.

Problems identified included poor connections between the city centre and the wider city and a lack of places for people to socialise.

A lack of pride and vibrancy was also identified during the process which started in April.

To fix the main issues, the plan proposes a range of changes aiming to attract people to the city centre and create connections between new developments and existing retailers and businesses.

One of the main changes was to transform Tay St into a one-lane road, in each direction.

The public will have the opportunity to offer feedback on the Master Plan until 20 January 2021.



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