New look for Porirua
It’s nearing decision time on the shape of Porirua’s city centre.
Porirua City councillors will this month be given the results of a major project review, with more detailed design work now under way.
PCC economic development manager Ray Cowles says that while the public may have seen nothing ‘‘real’’ happening in the CBD, there has been plenty going on.
Preliminary design work for Cobham Court and the market square has been completed, as have wind, traffic and parking studies, while concepts for a new building and District Plan changes are coming up.
‘‘It’s an exciting time, and now we start looking for even more feedback from the community,‘‘ Mr Cowles says.
Until now, input has been sought from community organisations and other ‘‘higher-level’’ sections of Porirua on how the face of the city will be permanently changed.
Ten years and $14 million worth of work is proposed, including green areas, a mix of business, commercial, recreational and residential uses, a major harbour edge redevelopment – which includes a desire to reverse the poor town planning that has the city with its ‘‘back’’ to the harbour – and better connections between the railway station, waterfront, CBD and Te Rauparaha Arena.
The major review, being carried out independently of the council by Wellington Waterfront Ltd, is due to a ‘‘fundamental rethink of the strategy to date’’.
Mr Cowles says it is a ‘‘major piece of work’’ and has looked at cost benefits, height and bulk scenarios (including sun and wind angles). The thorny issue of whether the canopies will come down, with such things as wind, cover and aesthetic issues to consider, is not likely to be decided until at least next year.
‘‘Cobham Court can be very sunny, but there are other issues. Hartham Place is a wind funnel. If you take the canopies down, what cover do you have if it’s raining?
‘‘[ Consultants] Opus looked at different scenarios of keeping them in or alternatively, suggesting screening and planting.’’
Concept designs for a building in Lydney Pl, called Ferry House, have also been done, with the objective of attracting a government department or large business, to the tune of 600 jobs.
Mr Cowles says the next phase, which will see greater councillor and public input, will investigate ‘‘how people engage with their city’’.
‘‘It’s the human element side of things we’re getting into now. We want to keep our ambitions for the city centre realistic and make sure it fits the ‘ Porirua style’ that we have. But we need to balance the economic and the social side of it.’’
Mr Cowles says the city centre budget is tied up with the long-term plan and, as it stands, there are no budget blowouts envisaged.