Cafe is wanted in la­goon hous­ing area

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - JA­NINE RANKIN

A cafe to ben­e­fit all of Palmer­ston North’s res­i­dents is the main con­ces­sion city coun­cil­lors want from hous­ing de­vel­op­ment on the for­mer Teacher’s Col­lege site.

The pro­posed re­zon­ing of the land most re­cently-known as the Massey Univer­sity Hokowhitu Cam­pus has been rec­om­mended to go out for public con­sul­ta­tion.

The plans for a ‘‘high end’’ res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment passed through the Palmer­ston North City Coun­cil’s plan­ning and strat­egy com­mit­tee on Mon­day vir­tu­ally un­touched by politi­cians.

But mayor Grant Smith said there should be a com­mit­ment to pro­vid­ing a cafe near the wellused recre­ation ar­eas of the Hokowhitu La­goon and Manawatu River­side shared path­way.

The pos­si­bil­ity of hav­ing a cafe in the new 130-lot sub­di­vi­sion was raised by Cr Vaughan Den­ni­son.

Pol­icy plan­ner Michael Duin­dam said there were pro­vi­sions al­low­ing for non­res­i­den­tial ac­tiv­i­ties in the new hous­ing area, but where they should be lo­cated had not been shown on a pro­posed struc­ture plan.

He said the op­tion had been dis­cussed with prop­erty own­ers Wal­lace De­vel­op­ment Ltd, and they were open to the idea.

‘‘But we have not specif­i­cally pro­vided for it. It is bet­ter left to the mar­ket as to where that might be best lo­cated.’’

Smith said he wanted more cer­tainty than a ca­sual con­ver­sa­tion about it.

The city coun­cil had given the land, a 10.5 hectare block, to the govern­ment in 1959 for use as a univer­sity.

Massey Univer­sity later shifted its ed­u­ca­tion stud­ies to the Tu­ritea cam­pus and sold the land in April 2016

‘‘And now we get no ben­e­fit at all,’’ Smith said.

‘‘Some­one else will reap all the ben­e­fits.’’

It was es­ti­mated the re­de­vel­op­ment were com­plete, it would cre­ate be­tween $90 and $135 mil­lion worth of real es­tate.

An­other con­cern for coun­cil­lors was the ef­fect new hous­ing and drive­ways would have on traf­fic flows on Cen­ten­nial Drive.

Cr Leonie Hapeta said some week­ends, when there were func­tions at the nearby Chalet, tour­na­ments at the Hokowhitu La­goon and matches at the neigh­bour­ing Manawatu Golf Club, the road was re­ally busy.

And Cr Bruno Pe­tre­nas said con­sid­er­a­tion should be given to us­ing stormwa­ter run-off from the new hous­ing area as a re­source to help top-up the Hokowhitu La­goon.

The coun­cil has been grap­pling with ways to keep the la­goon full since the Welling­ton An­niver­sary Day earth­quake in 2014, when the la­goon base started leak­ing faster than stormwa­ter runoff and pump­ing fresh wa­ter in could re­plen­ish it.

How­ever, Duin­dam said ear­lier that he did not ex­pect the hous­ing de­vel­op­ment would cre­ate any more stormwa­ter than what was pro­duced by the cur­rent build­ings on the site and large ar­eas of sealed car parks.

Those build­ings and car parks were likely to re­main in place as long as the devel­op­ers and cur­rent ten­ants wanted.

The hous­ing de­vel­op­ment would be­gin at the Chalet end of the prop­erty.

Stage two would be at the Manukura spe­cial char­ac­ter school end, in­clud­ing the ath­let­ics track that will con­tinue to be home to the Cancer So­ci­ety’s Re­lay for Life for at least an­other three years.

The for­mer Massey Univer­sity Hokowhitu cam­pus is one step closer to be­ing de­vel­oped for hous­ing.

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