Not a rush job
Porirua’s CBD revitalisation could take decades rather than years, says the man hired by Porirua City Council to lead the makeover.
Greg Pollock is head of a threeman team from Wellington-based consulting firm Beca, contracted this month to project manage the revitalisation on an indefinite basis.
It will take time to convince private investors to buy into the city centre, Mr Pollock says.
‘‘This is a long-term story. That’s not to say we’re not going to start doing things. There’s a sense that something needs to start, to happen. We need to make sure it’s the right something, though.’’
Top priority is creating more local employment in the CBD, and Mr Pollock believes this can be achieved by encouraging property owners to refurbish their buildings so different kinds of business will want to move in. More restaurants in the city centre are also needed to attract people in the evenings, he says.
Among longer- term priorities is a revamp of the city’s layout to boost business and increase foot traffic, starting with a new main street, Mr Pollock says.
There are few streets in Porirua with businesses along both sides, and this discourages people from lingering in the CBD, he says.
‘‘It’s roads on either side of car parks right now.’’
Commercial investment will come when investors see there is a solid, well-supported plan in place for the CBD, Mr Pollock says.
‘‘It’s kind of a snowballing thing. If we get some things right the private sector will start to invest.’’
Ultimately the success of the project will be getting people to use the city centre, he says.
‘‘The Porirua centre, I think, is an example of what happens when you don’t think about people when developing a city centre.
‘‘We see our role as helping the city to create this city centre which is something they love to visit.’’
Home sweet home: Cannons Creek’s Taing family are having a much-needed house built for them by Whitireia students in a neat trade-off organised by Habitat for Humanity.
Long term vision: Greg Pollock