$30m approved for Inner-city project

Clare Hadley
Clare Hadley

With unanimous support, Invercargill City Council approved spending $30 million on the inner-city block redevelopment.

In a reconvened meeting yesterday, councillors approved the investment on the city's CBD upgrade project - which they defined as ''the biggest decision they would make''.

The council has been requested by HWCP Ltd - a joint venture between the Richardson Group and the council - to invest $25 million as part of the $180 million needed for stages 1, 2 and 3 of the development.

A further $5 million would be allocated to chief executive Clare Hadley and Invercargill City Holdings chairman Brian Woods to invest in any further necessary change on the design.

The $30 million would be funded through a loan, resulting in an estimated 1.2% rates increase.

Through its holding company, Invercargill City Properties, the council has already invested $5.45 million with HWCP.

A total of 673 submissions had been received during the public consultation, 70% in favour and 29% opposed.

Cr Lesley Soper said she was excited with the outcome, while Cr Karen Arnold said council had tested all the information provided.

Cr Lloyd Esler said despite the negative points, he was confident this was the right decision.

''The project will be noisy, dusty and disruptive. There is a quite significant loss of heritage, which is compensated for to some extent by retention of some of the buildings.

''There is a financial risk which we were made very aware of ... This project will be a setback for some other projects ... but I'm overwhelmingly convinced this is the correct answer for Invercargill - it's a great opportunity.''

Cr Lindsay Thomas abstained from voting due to a conflict of interest, as he is one of the directors of HWCP.

luisa.girao@odt.co.nz

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