Nelson/Fourni City Council
A pedestrian-oriented “linear park” on Bridge St between Anzac Park and Queens Gardens is in the final stages of negotiations for a share of government funding.
The first step to implementing Nelson’s vision for a revitalized downtown could be to get started with government funding.
A proposed linear park for Nelson town centre, along Bridge St from Rutherford St to Queens Gardens, has reached the final stage of Government Infrastructure Acceleration Fund negotiations, with just the dollar amount and due diligence reasonable yet to be determined.
The project was eligible for funding thanks to the underlying sewage and stormwater infrastructure that will be upgraded as part of the development, which will allow for up to 850 additional homes in the town centre.
Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese said now is the time to start seeing action on the proposals put forward, and if negotiations prove successful it would be a ‘massive boost’ for the local economy .
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“People want to see something tangible…I think now is a good time to really see something start,” she said.
“It’s really exciting, if we get it, it’s a real boost for Te Ara Whakatū and the direction this plan sets.”
She said the timing wasn’t quite set yet, but she expected a report to council as soon as possible.
The Bridge St project infrastructure will support Kāinga Ora’s development of up to 175 new social and affordable housing units in city center sites, should the housing agency complete its due diligence on the sites and proceed with development.
Reese said public investment could also attract private developers, who she said always come to the board with proposals and ideas.
She said “significant investment” from local government and central government would help bring some of these ideas to fruition, and central government funding would be a win for taxpayers.
“Any funding we receive from the government will be a reduction of what we [the council] were going to have to pay,” she said.
Reese said people living in the city center would need improved green spaces and active transportation options, which the development of a linear park on Bridge St would “go a long way” to providing.
“Any funding would be used to transform one of Nelson’s main streets into a people-centred place, full of greenery and safe for cyclists and pedestrians. Once redeveloped, Bridge St will serve as a new front yard for people living downtown and a vibrant space for everyone in Nelson to enjoy.
The council said in a statement that the funding would be used to upgrade the Paru Paru sewage pumping station and the water main which serves Bridge, Rutherford, Halifax and Collingwood streets. The improvements would allow the city to meet requests for up to 850 additional housing units in the downtown area.
The council said building infrastructure that supported intensification was a key way for the council to help increase the supply of accommodation “where people already play and work”, which has also helped to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.
The project is one of two in Nelson to reach the fund’s negotiation stage – Wakatū Incorporation’s Horoirangi proposal has also reached the negotiation stage.
The Council is currently preparing for negotiations with central government regarding funding and housing outcomes, as well as any information required to answer questions regarding due diligence.
“We look forward to sitting down with Kāinga Ora to demonstrate how far this funding will go to Whakatū Nelson.”