Crs support master plan for inner city

    (From left) Invercargill City Council roading manager Russell Pearson, H&J Smith chief executive John Green and customer and ICC environment group manager Darren Edwards present the Invercargill inner-city master plan report to councillors on Tuesday.

    A PLAN to revitalise the centre of Invercargill was endorsed unanimously by city councillors on Tuesday but some parts will be revisited following opposition from disgruntled stakeholders.

    The Invercargill City Council received 65 submissions about the inner-city master plan and, while submitters supported the objectives of the project, some were concerned about the proposal to transform Tay St into a one-lane road in each direction.

    The council guaranteed it would look at the plan again before any substantive work started on Tay St, expected to begin in three years.

    H&J Smith chief executive John Green, chairman of the governance group overseeing the project, spoke to councillors at the infrastructure services committee meeting on Tuesday.

    He said submitters’ feedback would be incorporated into the ongoing design, but he highlighted the plan was just a framework.

    “Most people do like change, most people embrace change,” he said.

    “We fear loss of what we know, we fear loss of what we have always done and we fear loss of how we have created value in the past. Once this fear is established, it takes time to resolve in more than one conversation, more than two conversations and often continuing ongoing conversations, until we overcome those fears and all the options are explored.”

    Through the process they talked about being brave, and not about being dismissive of concerns, he said.

    “It … takes time.

    “There is opposition but we need to remember this is a master plan. It is good for the city, it is great to have something to aim at for the next 30 years and the detail will continue to evolve,” Mr Green said.

    Cr Alex Crackett was concerned good aspects of the plan would be “lost in the noise”.

    Councillors also approved a recommendation for the detailed design work for Esk and Don Sts to begin immediately, funded from the current budget.

    Cr Graham Lewis highlighted concerns of Esk St retailers who wanted to keep angled car parks.

    Mr Green said the idea was for people to move easily across the street, to slow the traffic and to be safe.

    He said all feedback would be taken into consideration, but there was an element of thinking “what is best for the common good”.

    The council’s roading manager, Russell Pearson, said the success of the city centre’s future was about “bringing people in”.

    CBD development included 600 parks and angled parking usually needed more “manoeuvering room”.

    A statement from the council says work will now begin on an implementation plan for the master plan and detailed design will be undertaken in the coming months.

    Initial work was focused on the new city developments and was expected to be completed early next year.