People have their say on CBD

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    The Invercargill CBD block earmarked for new development.

    SUBMISSIONS from H&J Smith Holdings Ltd and Heritage New Zealand opposing a multimillion-dollar development proposed Invercargill’s inner city surprised HWCP director Scott O’Donnell.

    “I was surprised… because we had dealt with both of them in great detail before submissions closed,” he said.

    HWCP Management Ltd has applied for resource consent to build a multimillion-dollar covered complex for retail, hospitality and office space in the block bordered by Dee, Kelvin, Esk and Tay Sts.

    HWCP is a joint venture between Invercargill City Property Ltd, owned by the Invercargill City Council’s Holdco, and HWR Property Ltd, part of the HW Richardson Group.

    The council received 43 submissions on the proposed development – 25 in support, 10 opposed and eight neutral.

    The disruption to neighbouring businesses during the demolition and construction stages and the loss of heritage buildings were the main concerns of those opposed.

    H&J Smith’s submission acknowledged the urgent need to revitalise Invercargill’s CBD, but expressed concerns about the “inevitable adverse effects the proposed development will have on its business during the lengthy period of demolition and reconstruction due to the scale of the project… ”

    “… the lack of recognition of impact on neighbouring retailers and measures proposed to avoid, remedy or mitigate such effects, let alone any proposals to protect neighbouring retailers during the lengthy development period, is a major omission on the part of the applicant’s advisers,” the submission said.

    H&J Smith management were unavailable for comment when contacted by the Southland Express this week.

    Heritage New Zealand’s submission said “… while we support the retention of the four facades of the buildings to be demolished, we are concerned that the loss of heritage values are still significant”.

    Mr O’Donnell said he had since spoken with both parties and was working with them.

    “… none of it is insurmountable.”

    There would be some disruption to neighbouring businesses during the construction process, which was unavoidable, but plans would be put in place to minimise the impact so they could continue trading, he said.

    Long term, the intention was to give them a future, he said.

    “If we don’t do something, their future is absolutely over.

    “We have got to do something so they have a bright future ahead of them.”

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