Retailers to get the first say on CBD

03:33, May 19 2014
Graham Sycamore speaks to upgrade designer Craig Pocock
PRIVATE CHAT: Inner-city upgrade boss and city councillor Graham Sycamore speaks to upgrade designer Craig Pocock on Esk St, where the upgrade will begin.

The first of many consultative meetings about the multimillion-dollar inner-city upgrade will begin next week, but you are not invited.

The controversial upgrade of the CBD area of Invercargill will begin this year, with consultation beginning next week and tenders being let in August.

Upgrade boss and city councillor Graham Sycamore said he would meet with retailers, along with businessmen and upgrade committee members John Green, David White and Mick Hesslin, on May 20 and 21 to discuss the issues in Esk St and their concerns in private.

Sycamore said the retailers' views would be used to create a plan for the city centre, which will be more detailed than the concept plan released last year.

That plan would then be put out to the public to give feedback, he said.

"You can consult until you are blue in the face, but you might not get anywhere."

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At a press conference this week designer Craig Pocock said it would be inappropriate to have the public at the meeting because retailers would not feel comfortable enough to share their opinions.

Consultation was carried out with more than 500 people last year and the public could share their thoughts at a later stage, he said.

The upgrade was passed through council in August, weeks before the election, after vigorous debate and public backlash about lack of consultation at a council meeting.

City council roading manager Russell Pearson said the public would have another chance to have their say in June, when the council would rent a space in Esk St for people to see designs and plans and write down their ideas.

The plans would then return to council before being put out for tender and construction begun in October, he said.

Council would then review the remaining precincts in the plan, including the removal of the Number 10 One Stop Youth Shop and making Tay and Dee St one lane each way next year, before beginning another consultation phase on those stages, he said.

The Southland Times