Upgrade given green light
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.’’
An artist’s impression of Leith Pl.