De­mo­li­tion day for i-SITE

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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