REINSTATING the right-hand turn from Dee St into Esk St and returning Don St to a two-way system are among a series of actions proposed in the Invercargill City Centre Retail Strategy adopted by the Invercargill City Council (ICC).
The strategy, developed by Wellington-based retail consultants First Retail Group in consultation with CBD property owners, business owners and industry representatives, sets out a series of actions designed to encourage more people to visit Invercargill’s city centre in a bid to reinvigorate the area.
“Invercargill is a city poised for significant regeneration with a number of pivotal projects about to get under way,” First Retail Group managing director Chris Wilkinson said.
“The strategy helps determine how these developments can add value to the existing offer, but also help welcome new audiences to the city centre.”
The strategy identified one-way streets as a barrier to consumers visiting certain streets.
ICC city centre co-ordinator Kari Graber said the council would consult on plans to convert
Don St back to a two-way street and other major projects, but elements which had already been consulted on in previous strategies would not be consulted on again.
“We don’t want to get bogged down [with consultation].”
Mr Wilkinson said they had been aware of the imminent announcement of the Invercargill Licensing Trust’s (ILT) new hotel, to be located on the south-east corner of Dee and Don Sts.
“This reflects elements in the strategy that advocate for Don St to develop further as Invercargill’s commercial precinct, anchoring corporate head offices and becoming a more cosmopolitan environment that helps attract and retain the talent these businesses need to stay and grow in the city.”
Don St was converted to a one-way street and the right-hand turn into Esk St removed during the last CBD upgrade in the early-2000s.
ICC roading manager Russell Pearson said Don St could be returned to a two-way street without removing the umbrella street art and the green space and seating outside the courthouse, but it would require the angle parking spaces be changed to parallel parks, resulting in the loss of some parking spaces.
Access requirements of the new ILT hotel and the needs of business owners in Don St would be considered before changes to the street were made, he said.
The pillars at the intersection of Esk and Dee Sts may need to be removed to allow for the right-hand turn into Esk St, but the pillars could be deconstructed and relocated rather than being demolished, he said.
Ms Graber said the response to the strategy had been largely positive, with about 80% of CBD business owners and property owners in support. Others were skeptical about its success and wanted to see some actions completed.
“They say – ‘this is awesome, but show me some runs on the board’. That is why I want to keep the momentum going… when people see things happening they will be more willing to [get on board].”
An overall budget to implement the strategy had not been established, as the various actions would be undertaken by different council departments, but the funding would come from existing budgets, she said.