Reduced Bridge St bill mulled

BILL MOORE
Last updated 13:00 25/02/2013

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A blowout to $800,000 to improve the trouble-prone nightlife section of Nelson's Bridge St between Molly's bar and Collingwood St has been pruned to $200,000 or less - and the changes could cover the entire CBD length of the street.

The former plan was budgeted to cost $230,000 but the intention to provide a 2 per cent cross fall (gradient) during the footpath upgrade bumped up the estimate, Nelson City Council strategy and planning executive manager Michael Schruer told councillors in a memo considered at their infrastructure meeting.

"It is possible to reduce the scope of the project to ensure that the footpaths will not be altered, and therefore the 2 per cent cross fall will not need to be complied with," he said.

The reduced scope project would include lighting upgrades, brick paving at the pedestrian crossing, some trees with build-outs to accommodate them and a cycle stand, all for $200,000 or less.

Councillors had discussed the plan at a private annual plan workshop last week.

They have also had a presentation from Creative Communities director David Engwicht about ways to work with "the Bridge St community" to improve the street along its length.

The aim, Mr Schruer said, "is to provide an environment that encourages people to behave in a more socially responsible manner".

Several councillors expressed disappointment about both the scale of the reduced scheme and its lack of imagination.

Mayor Aldo Miccio suggested that $200,000 should be allocated to improve "the whole street" and how that could be achieved be looked at later in consultation with Mr Engwicht.

This was agreed, with councillor Rachel Reese cautioning that Mr Engwicht ought not to be automatically chosen as the provider of the council's salvation. The solution for Bridge St ought not to be pre-determined.

"We just met this person last week and he had a really cool suitcase and a pair of glasses, and now he's going to save the world.

"As much as it was sold to us as a free session, it's just turned into a very expensive one," she said.

Mr Engwicht, who is Brisbane-based, has an international reputation for his work in reducing the impact of motor vehicles on towns and cities, and delivers lectures around the world.

He is the author of Reclaiming our Cities and Towns: Better Living through Less Traffic (1993), Street Reclaiming: Creating Livable Streets and Vibrant Communities (1999), and Mental Speed Bumps: The Smarter Way to Tame Traffic (2005).

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- The Nelson Mail

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