40 to speak to submissions at hearing on CBD upgrade

An artist's impression of the Esk St entry to Invercargill's proposed new CBD precinct. Image:...
An artist's impression of the Esk St entry to Invercargill's proposed new CBD precinct. Image: Supplied
The spotlight is to be shone on Invercargill City Council's proposal to invest up to $30million in the city's CBD upgrade project.

A hearing to discuss the proposal is set down for two days, starting today.

Councillors will hear from 40 people who want to speak to their submissions.

A total of 671 submissions were received during the community consultation - 70% in favour and 29% opposed. Less than 1% were listed as "other."

The block, bordered by Tay, Kelvin, Esk and Dee Sts, is owned by HWCP Ltd, a joint venture between Invercargill City Property Ltd and HWR Properties of the HW Richardson Group.

Resource consent for the project was approved last month.

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

The Neighbouring Retailers Group (NRG), which represents 24 owners and three store managers from surrounding businesses, wrote a submission supporting the project.

"Invercargill is so disjointed with big developments on the outskirts that has seen once vibrant occupied upper buildings on Esk St now lifeless empty spaces. In order to restore the vibrancy and life to the city centre, we know we need a major surgery because the heart is slowing dying without it."

Southland Community Housing Group member Margaret Cook welcomed the new development, but highlighted it would put extra stress on an already constrained housing stock.

"The planning for the City Block Development should include recognition of Invercargill's housing shortage. We welcome the plans for including apartments and accommodation. We would also welcome consultation into the type and quantity of the housing provision to ensure that it was appropriate for our community's immediate and long-term needs."

Invercargill Ratepayer's Advocacy Group spokesman Nobby Clark said he supported the project if there was no increase on rates.

"We truly believe that while public consultation is appropriate and will probably get a positive response, we feel that the investment will go ahead regardless of that feedback."

The entire council and Mayor Tim Shadbolt will hear peoples' submissions before making its final decision.

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