Up­grade given green light

South Waikato News - - Front Page - LUKE KIRKEBY

A de­sign for the rede­vel­op­ment of Toko­roa’s Leith Pl has fi­nally been agreed on af­ter years of de­lib­er­a­tion and con­tro­versy.

Dur­ing the South Waikato District Coun­cil’s monthly meet­ing on Thurs­day the ma­jor­ity of coun­cil­lors voted in favour of en­dors­ing a num­ber of changes [Op­tion 4C] that will have a huge im­pact on how the town cen­tre looks.

The main changes will see the I-SITE build­ing re­moved and re­placed with a new one at the north­ern end of Leith Pl, a new toi­let block and a more prom­i­nent po­si­tion for the Talk­ing Poles along the main road.

There will be more out­door din­ing spa­ces, the north­ern en­trance into Bridge St will be re­duced to one lane and there will be a two-way north­ern en­trance into Leith Pl.

Some of the more controversial el­e­ments were the likely re­moval of ma­ture trees to im­prove shop vis­i­bil­ity and the loss of 30 car parks.

The endorsement fol­lows two pub­lic work­shops held in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber 2016 from which feed­back was col­lated and fed back into the pre­ferred de­sign. This fol­lowed ear­lier dis­sat­is­fac­tion over the con­sul­ta­tion process.

Pro­ject man­ager Sarah Flavall said the process had al­lowed for ro­bust­ness.

‘‘[The process en­sures] we are not just pick­ing favourites based on feel­ing. There is some real ro­bust­ness in the way we have cho­sen the de­sign op­tion,’’ she said.

Coun­cil­lor Thomas Lee, who was a mem­ber of the work­ing group, said he was pleased with the out­come.

‘‘I think we have done the process very well, par­tic­u­larly with the level the pub­lic have had the chance to sub­mit and put ideas for­ward,’’ he said.

‘‘When you go through the in­for­ma­tion the pre­ferred op­tion is the one most peo­ple want. It comes down to num­bers and we just have to go with what most peo­ple want.’’

‘‘The process has been in­cred­i­bly ro­bust so let’s get it started,’’ he said.

Deputy mayor agreed.

‘‘It has been a good process this time around and the en­gage­ment has been a lot higher which shows through in the feed­back,’’ he said.

Toko­roa I-SITE team leader Mary Winikerei said vis­i­tor num­bers were steadily in­creas­ing so the rede­vel­op­ment was needed.

She said peo­ple we no longer just stop­ping for the toi­lets and they wanted to see what else was on of­fer in Toko­roa. Jeff Gash

‘‘It has been a good process this time around and the en­gage­ment has been a lot higher which shows through in the feed­back.’’

LUKE KIRKEBY

An artist’s im­pres­sion of Leith Pl.

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