Three sites on table for Bulls information centre

The site of a retail development in Bulls has been taken off the table as an option for where the town's merged library and information centre will be located.

A steering committee, led by Jane Dunn, has been working on the Bulls Town Centre Plan (BTCP) which firstly aims to find a site for the merged facility, which is now likely to include a town hall too.

The BTCP will also consider the future of the general Bulls central business district.

Six options for the merged facility were considered before three were discarded and the remaining ones put forward for extensive public consultation.

The Toy Library site on the corner of High St and Daniell St, the existing information centre on Bridge St and the Criterion Hotel have been put forward for further consultation.

The option originally preferred by the council, Wallace Development Company's retail centre, was among those discarded.

Last year Rangitikei District Council proposed leasing space at the Wallace Development centre on Bridge St to house the town's library, information centre and bus stop. Outspoken residents managed to get the plan shelved but the merging of the sites remained on the council's agenda.

Rangitikei Mayor Andy Watson said the town was now working together in a way that could not have been imagined at this time last year.

"I think it's been achieved partly by council admitting we got the process wrong."

Watson said he expected the council to give considerable weight to the committee's recommendations.

"Ultimately, the people were reminded that it is a council decision.

"Personally, I'd be surprised if it wasn't supported all the way through."

The steering group, a subcommittee of the Bulls Community Committee, was created to work with the council, residents and urban planners Creative Communities to develop the town centre plan.

The community engagement process was launched last week and will run for three weeks.

A final draft plan will be drawn up by Creative Communities and considered by the council in May.

Watson said it would be at least 18 months before any work could begin.

A series of activities showcasing the plans and designs will be held throughout Bulls this weekend.

Manawatu Standard