Cafe is wanted in lagoon housing area
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.