Council hears from submitters

The deliberation was reached by an Invercargill City Council board on Wednesday. Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
Invercargill councillors heard from more than a dozen submitters about what they would like done with new developments at Wachner Pl yesterday.

Following the redevelopment of Esk and Don Sts the council has been considering options for the future of the inner-city square.

The council opened a public consultation on these options, as well as the draft CCTV policy.

There were 172 submissions received within the consultation period.

Two options related to the refinancing of city block presented for public consultation were a $10million 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 the rear of the planned Distinction Hotel.

Of the submissions, councillors heard 17 in person at a hearing yesterday.

Opinions were varied, with some submitters venting frustrations that there was no option to maintain the status quo.

On the option of refinancing the city block, submitter Brian Dunckley said neither option was preferred, and he also did not approve of all three options for Wachner Pl involving tour buses utilising the area.

"My big issue is that the consultation options control the outcome because there is no option to disagree with the options."

In regards to the CCTV upgrade, he said he had no issue with the installation of further cameras though was hesitant about what would be done with the information, including if facial recognition was integrated into the system.

Mayor Nobby Clark told him his issues regarding CCTV would be addressed when the council’s policy was finalised.

Submitter Lindsay Frewen also did not approve of Wachner Pl being changed to accommodate buses.

He said he had been involved with many events in Invercargill throughout the years, including previous New Year’s Eve celebrations in Wachner Pl, and though he agreed it was getting a bit "tired looking," putting a bus lane in was "not right."

Submitter Jenny Campbell also spoke to the area’s prior usage by the public, including as a site for protests to be held.

She said she would prefer a one lane road be opened, though enough space remains for people to gather, as well as retaining the stone columns.

Of the written submissions, all 172 had a stance on the redevelopment — though only 111 on refinancing.

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.

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