New look for Porirua

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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.

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