CBD development submissions made

Invercargill's central business district. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Invercargill's central business district. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Invercargill's democracy is getting a decent leg-stretch as the fate of a major CBD block has received over 150 public submissions.

Following the redevelopment of Esk and Don Sts the city’s silhouette continues its steady transformation and the council has been considering options for the future of Esk St West/Wachner Pl.

The council opened a public consultation on these options, as well as the draft CCTV policy, between September 14 and October 14.

There were 172 submissions received within the consultation period.

Of the submissions, councillors will hear 17 in person at a hearing tomorrow.

Two options related to the refinancing of city block presented for public consultation were a $10 million share purchase and $8.55m increase in loan, or a $20m share purchase and no increase in loan.

There were three options presented for public consultation related to the overall upgrade: option one: a one-way for tour buses through Wachner Pl; option two: a "people first" Esk connection to the city centre with bus access from Leven St; and option three: a "hybrid public realm" with tour bus access to rear of the planned Distinction Hotel.

While only 111 submissions indicated a preferance for the refinancing of the block, every submission took a stance on the redevelopment.

Twenty-three respondents preferred option one, which was the council’s preferred option, although the report noted that of these, four included submissions which seemed to indicate they did not in fact prefer option one.

One hundred and two respondents preferred option two or options two and three, while 16 respondents preferred option three. Thirty-one responses explicitly stated that they did not agree with any of the council’s options.

The report also noted the Southland Chamber of Commerce, which represents about 610 Southland businesses, conducted its own survey of their membership and found divided opinion on the city streets upgrade.

Fifty-three percent of their respondents preferred option two, and 32% chose the council’s preferred option one. Comments from their respondents included a desire to keep the area traffic-free, not wanting buses, concerns for pedestrians and the wind and wanting to keep or make the area more open.

With regard to the CCTV policy, 121 responses indicated a preference for an option regarding the CCTV policy.

Seventy-nine percent supported the policy as presented, though concerns were raised around wanting more specificity regarding storage of, and access to, footage, and other privacy issues.

Many submitters who agreed with the policy asked for more cameras and expressed a desire for them to be installed as soon as possible.

The Chamber of Commerce survey found 92% of respondents were in support of the policy.

The infrastructure committee will consider the matter of the CCTV policy further.

ben.tomsett@odt.co.nz