Demolition day for i-SITE
The diggers were already in full swing on Thursday as Porirua City councillors signed off on the next phase of the city’s $7 million CBD upgrade.
However, one councillor said the city centre revitalisation should be more about economic development and being attractive to investors, rather than playgrounds and water features.
As the demolition of the Lyttelton Ave toilet block and the old i-Site building got underway on Thursday morning, Isthmus Group landscape architect Dan Males told councillors it was the first step to creating a new civic centre.
‘‘The space will really be opened up. It will be vibrant and colourful, not like the cold and dark area it used to be,’’ he said.
‘‘It will relate to the harbour, streamside and link the train station and CBD in a unique way.’’
Following demolition of the i-Site building, temporary landscaping and paving will be put in, detailed designs of the upgrade will be completed by October, tenders called for in December, and construction may start by March.
The proposed playground will be based on a concept similar to what has been constructed at Myers Park in Auckland, Males said. The equipment will be specially-built and not ‘‘off the shelf’’, he said.
Features could include the area in front of the old Post Office building on Serlby Place becoming a shared vehicle and pedestrian area, a new playground and wet area in Cobham Court and Hartham Place North, more green spaces on the streamside and a reconfiguration of the Lyttelton Ave and Norrie St intersection.
The remaining canopy structures would come down, because to keep the wires and poles up would cost $50,000 a year.
Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said there was a lot of talking and it was great to finally see action.
‘‘There will be no dead ends in the city centre,’’ he said. ‘‘This is a smart, staged plan and I am relaxed about it.
‘‘We’re creating an environment that is enticing for residents and investors. We have a canvas for future development and this project will push what we’re doing in the CBD down towards the harbourside.’’
However, Leggett said he was concerned about vehicles and pedestrians sharing Serlby Place.
‘‘This goes against the grain and I want to raise a flag about that. It doesn’t feel quite right.’’
Ken Douglas, meanwhile, was more outspoken about what he said was the wrong philosophy for the CBD.
‘‘Do we want [Australian theme park] Luna Park coming to Porirua? People will not be happy that the sum of six years work is a wet playground and landscaping, when our relationships with building owners hasn’t changed and we haven’t been chasing investment hard enough.
‘‘We’re sending the wrong signals.’’
Douglas said the council purchasing additional CBD buildings as part of future development was key.
Consultation with CBD businesses and building owners, and the wider public, will be carried out later this year.
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An artist’s impression of the avenue to be created from Ferry Pl into Cobham Court in Porirua’s CBD, once the i-Site building is demolished.
The demolition under way of the toilet block on Lyttelton Ave.