Pedestrian-focused Bridge St redesign in final round for Government funding

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A pedestrian-focused "linear park" on Bridge St between Anzac Park and Queens Gardens is in the final stages of negotiations for a share in Government funding.

Nelson City Council/Supplied

A pedestrian-focused “linear park” on Bridge St between Anzac Park and Queens Gardens is in the final stages of negotiations for a share in Government funding.

The first step to implement Nelson’s vision for a revitalised city centre could be getting a kick-start with some Government funding.

A linear park proposed for Nelson’s city centre, along Bridge St from Rutherford St to Queens Gardens, has made it to the final negotiations stage of the Government’s Infrastructure Acceleration Fund, with just the dollar amount and due diligence left to be determined.

The project was eligible for the funding thanks to underlying waste- and storm-water infrastructure which will be upgraded as part of the development, which will allow for up to 850 more dwellings in the centre city.

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese said the timing was right to start seeing action on the proposals put forward, and should the negotiations prove successful it would be a “massive boost” to the local economy.

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“People are wanting to see something tangible … I think it’s the right timing to really see something get started,” she said.

“It’s really exciting, if we get it, it’s a real kick-start on Te Ara Whakatū, and the direction that plan sets out.”

She said timing was still not quite hammered out, but she expected a report back to the council sooner rather than later.

The infrastructure under the Bridge St project will support Kāinga Ora’s development of up to 175 new social and affordable homes in centre-city sites, should the housing agency complete its due diligence on the sites and pursue development.

The linear park proposal would lead to a re-design of Bridge St to be more pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly, with more greenery and reduced emphasis on car travel. This design is preliminary.

Nelson City Council/Supplied

The linear park proposal would lead to a re-design of Bridge St to be more pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly, with more greenery and reduced emphasis on car travel. This design is preliminary.

Reese said public investment could also entice private developers, who she said were still approaching the council with proposals and ideas.

She said having “significant investment” from both local and central government would help enable some of those ideas, and the central government funding would be a win for ratepayers.

“Any funding that we get from the Government will be a reduction in what we [the council] were going to have to pay,” she said.

Reese said people living in the inner-city would need enhanced green spaces and active transport options, which the development of a linear park on Bridge St would “go a long way” to provide.

“Any funding would be used to transform one of Nelson’s main streets into a people-focussed place, full of greenery, and safe for cyclists and pedestrians. Once redesigned, Bridge St will act as a new front yard for people living in the city centre and a vibrant space for everyone in Nelson to enjoy.”

Mayor Rachel Reese said the funding, should it come through, would be a kick-start to Nelson’s 30-year plan for revitalising the city, Te Ara Whakatū.

Joe Lloyd/Stuff

Mayor Rachel Reese said the funding, should it come through, would be a kick-start to Nelson’s 30-year plan for revitalising the city, Te Ara Whakatū.

The council said in a statement that the funding would go towards upgrading the Paru Paru wastewater pump station, and the water main which serves Bridge, Rutherford, Halifax and Collingwood streets. The upgrades would enable the city to support the demands of up to 850 more dwellings in the city centre.

The council said building infrastructure that supported intensification was a key way for the council to help increase housing supply “where people already play and work”, which also helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport.

The project is one of two in Nelson to make it to the negotiation stage of the fund – Wakatū Incorporation’s Horoirangi proposal has also reached the negotiation stage.

Council is now preparing for negotiations with central government around funding and housing outcomes, and any information required to answer queries around due diligence.

“We look forward to sitting down with Kāinga Ora to demonstrate how far this funding will go in Whakatū Nelson.”

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