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Upper Hutt Leader : May 25th 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 SERVING YOUR COMMUNITY SINCE 1939 Letters 10 Real Estate 21-33 Arts 34-36 Motoring 37-38 Classifieds 39-42 Sport 45-48 SAFER RIVER RD CLOSER New lane starts being used 2 FOOTBALL MAN VISITS Young fans meet Ricki Herbert 5 QUAKE CONCERTS Helping Christchurch 34 City centre 'a tough nut to crack' CONTINUED Page 2 By COLIN WILLIAMS Better use and flow of public space to help the Main St, a prioritising of the ped- estrian'', improved awareness of -- and access to -- the CBD from the state highway and the possibility of a ground-level railway crossing to replace the station subway, are all ideas promoted for Upper Hutt's future vision and strategy. Last week's well-attended public meeting, which came a month before any ideas will be formally proposed in draft form as part of the city council's long-term planning, involved a two-hour presentation from the Urbanism- plus consultant Kobus Mentz. The report back'' meeting followed work in recent months with stakeholder focus groups, city councillors and staff, and an earlier public meeting and four- day inquiry by design'' workshop. A lot of what comes out of [the final draft] will form a lot of our long-term community plan next year,'' mayor Wayne Guppy said at the start. We are at the early stages still. Things will be discussed and may be taken out. This is so we can get on track and as a community we like where we are heading.'' Mr Mentz said the information he was presenting was not a vision being imposed from the top. It's a connected-up story, a collective piece of work. We've listened,'' he said. All of Upper Hutt was looked at in the study, including the CBD itself''. One of the tough nuts to crack is clearly your city centre,'' he said. We need to change the way this place feels with action around public space and cultural expression.'' He said Upper Hutt would never compete with Queensgate -- but how do we widen what we offer in retail areas, to have people take this place more seriously?'' he asked. Other areas to work on were: The environment: A network of open space''. Transport: Bringing people to the city centre and prioritising the pedestrian''. Social and community: Neigh- bourhood improvements and growing cultural and recreational enterprise''. Employment: Attracting major employer [and] finding high-value small business opportunities.'' And, of course, the city centre: inclusive, safe and well-used spaces, rail to Main St connection and a vibrant retail offer''. You do sit in an exceptional environment with your hills, river and nature [but] we have to make a start on some serious sustainability issues.'' Mr Mentz said Upper Hutt undersold itself, with no compel- ling messages for people to enter the city''. There were key areas on State Highway 2 where a message could be given instead of the fairly weak signage at the moment, he said. Bylaw set to pass without a bark By COLIN WILLIAMS The city's new draft dog control bylaw looks set to have an uncontroversial passage into becoming policy. Only four submissions were received by the city council after the required public advertising of the draft, city environmental services director Richard Harbord said. Two of these were submissions to the annual plan but were seen more relevant to the dog control laws, and the other two submissions addressed the new draft bylaw, Mr Harbord said. A decision on whether a hearing is needed, with people speaking to their submissions, will be made next week. The draft bylaw, approved by councillors in April, was described as a moderate relaxation of the laws to allow for increased off- leash exercise. Approval of the bylaw and the limited number of submissions will bring an end to an issue that was raging a year ago. Then, the previous council failed to finish a review of its dog policy after a first draft brought a huge community backlash. The previous council had planned to ban dogs from the cen- tral business district and restrict them to on-leash control in all parks with sports fields. A positive use of public space sought Lie of the land: The impression of the railway station to Main St access and public space. By COLIN WILLIAMS Revamped and logical ped- estrian access from the railway station, along Princes St, to the main city shopping would be a positive use of public space which would be of benefit to locals, visitors and retailers. A drawing for discussion'' -- presented by Urbanismplus con- sultant Kobus Mentz to last week's public meeting -- details a coherent linkage from the admittedly dilapidated railway station to the top of Princes St on the sunny side of the street'' and a public space three times the size'' of the File statue on Russell St. The plan would deliver a major public space with good linkage and a good tie-in'' to the shopping area. Currently the approach'' from the station is all wrong with a looping'' path through the bush around the Maternity statue which pushes people away, Mr Mentz says. The experience for people is oneof IaminaparkbutI'm not'' and then it is over the street, bang into a building, he told the meeting. This was designed when the car was everything. We would need to rework the Maternity statue park to make it safer and make it greener,'' he said. The artist impression indicates tree planting along Princes St and a widened foot- path with the parking reverting from the present parallel. The roundabout on Fergusson Dr would be removed and realigned to create a better intersection and a safer, direct link for pedestrians.
May 18th 2011
June 1st 2011