Tokoroa CBD Upgrade

​May Update

  • We are pleased to announce that RDT Pacific have been appointed to provide project management and procurement services to the project.  RDT Pacific have previously provided project management services for Council on the South Waikato Sport and Events Centre development.  They have a proven track record around large, complex works and achieving value for money and we are excited to have them on board.

  • A Project Control Group (PCG) has been formed to drive the project forward.  The membership consists of the Mayor, Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive, John Stevens as the community representative and an additional appointee to be confirmed.

  • A Rough Order Costing has been undertaken based on the Urban Design Framework and confirms that the project, as proposed through the Urban Design Framework consultation, is within budget.

  • Council advertised a Registration of Interest through on 18 May 2017.  The closing date for proposals is 9 June 2017.

    - Proposals will be shortlisted in June
    - Shortlisted Designers will be asked to submit concepts to allow a final Design Team to be selected   on the strength of their design ideas.


March Update

Click here​​ to read the latest update to the Tokoroa CBD Upgrade project.


February Update​

Click here​ to read the latest update to the Tokoroa CBD Upgrade project. 


January Update

Below is summary of progress to develop an Urban Design Framework for the redevelopment of Leith Place in 2017. You can download a pdf version of this summary here. ​

The Tokoroa CBD upgrade pushes ahead with positive engagement around the future of Leith Place. 

The community took the opportunity to give their views at the Workshop held on 27 October 2016​

At the workshop, as well as at Pacific Island and Business Group sessions, many ideas and drawings were produced in response to the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of Leith Place?
  • What are the visitor / retail / community uses and activities in Leith Place?
  • What is the message you want to send to the world about Leith Place and Tokoroa?
  • What are the visual qualities you want for Leith Place?​

Participants working in groups then reporting back ​​to workshop.

You said...


These ideas featured most​.

The community inputs led to a series of exciting ideas which were incorporated in the design options​

Design responses were well received at the second public presentation on 30 November ​2016

The proposed approach was to:

“Showcase Tokoroa’s qualities to the world, benefit your community, and increase trade”

This would be achieved through:

Activation: messaging, perceptions, creativity, discovery, social interaction.

Management: a town centre management regime to drive servicing, coordination and activation.

Design: image, identity, function, viability. 

The ideas gained from the public were worked into a wide range of options as illustrated below.

Find many ways to tell the Tokoroa story.

Create a public space with many activities.

Upgrade the shopfronts.

Locate Talking Poles along SH1 for high visibility and public interaction.

Outdoor dining space to allow cafes  to spill outside. 

The community inputs led to a series of design objectives and options​

Ideas and thoughts were distilled into a series of objectives which were later used as criteria to evaluate the design options. ​

Design Criteria

Each design option was considered against the criteria developed directly from the community’s ideas, the brief and the existing conditions:

  1. A public space that can be used for local events and activities and that is well connected to the footpath space outside the existing shops.

  2. A building location that will accommodate a new i-SITE and public toilets and that will be visible from SH1 (with emphasis on southbound).

  3. A building location that is well connected with the proposed public open space.

  4. To showcase Talking Poles.  Talking poles are important for local pride, history and to promote creativity and positive messaging around Tokoroa.

  5. Easy bus access, parking and compatibility with movement network changes.

Nine options were developed for consideration:

  • Centre of Leith Place (Options 1A and 1B).

  • Incorporating the existing footpath outside the shops (Options 2A and 2B).

  • On the south-eastern corner (Options 3A, and later Options 3B-1 and  3B-2, both developed in response to feedback at the presentation).

  • On the northern corner (Options 4A, 4B and 4C).

Design Criteria used for the evaluation of design options.

Proposed Urban Design Framework Options for Leith Place.

Many supported the preferred option, some wanted a ‘flip’ option and a few wanted no action​

At the presentation workshop many supported the preferred design (Option 4C), however some requested that a ‘Flip’ (Option 3B) option be investigated which has now been done.

The Preferred Option (4C) and the ‘Flip’ (3B-1) are evaluated below Option 4C: ‘Preferred’
  1. Good public space relationship to shops
    Provides a good public space that relates well to the proposed new building as well as to the existing footpath outside the Leith Place shops.

  2. Good building visibility to SH1
    The visibility of the i-site from the north is good. 

  3. Good building and public space relationship
    The i-site and the public space have a strong relationship and connections well with the bus stops.

  4. Good Talking Poles showcase
    A suitable position for the Talking Poles to be showcased and to be accessible for locals and visitors.

  5. Good bus access, parking and movement network
    Good bus access and good car parking provision​.

Option 3B-1: the ‘Flip’ (after the presentation workshop)

  1. Good public space relationship to shops
    Provides a good public space that relates well to the proposed new building as well as to the existing footpath outside the Leith Place shops, especially in the area of food outlets.

  2. Moderate Building visibility to SH1
    The visibility of the i-site from the north is poor.

  3. Good building and public space relationship
    The i-site and the public space have a strong relationship and connections well with the bus stops.

  4. Good Talking Poles showcase
    A suitable position for the Talking Poles to be showcased and to be accessible for locals and visitors.

  5. Moderate bus access, parking and movement network
    Moderately good bus access and car movement as the entry is still has very close to SH1 at the Bridge Street end. Good car parking provision.​

Logic suggests that Option 4C will best meet the objectives derived from the public consultation

A core opportunity is to attract higher visitation off State Highway 1 in order to expose visitors to Tokoroa’s significant attributes. Some may spend more at the shops, in the future others may invest in local businesses or even move to Tokoroa. 

In order to maximise this opportunity the project has to appeal to the most important visitor flows. 
Garry Brunton as manager of the Tokoroa i-SITE Visitor Centre understands traffic flows through Tokoroa. He notes:

  • Most domestic visitor flows are southbound from Auckland and the greater Waikato to Taupo, Hawkes Bay and South Waikato.

  • Normal holiday behaviour is to consume tourism activities and attractions heading away from the departure point and undertaking fewer stops when returning home.  

  • As most visitors who may stop at Tokoroa are southbound it makes sense for an i-SITE and toilet ‘Hub’ to be located to the north in Leith Place as indicated on the Preferred Option 4C. ​


The Tokoroa CBD Upgrade (previously Leith Place Development Project) is a significant project of Council. Progress and detail can be tracked here.

Following the submission process, the Steering Group was disbanded and a new Working Party formed consisting of: 

  • three community representatives
  • a representative from Raukawa
  • five Councillors.

The Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive, along with urban design, architectural and traffic design consultants will provide technical advice and assistance. The only members who will have voting rights will be the community representatives, Raukawa representative and Councillors.

The focus for the Working Party will be on Stage 1 Development (Leith Place) and the wider impact on the development and branding for Tokoroa. This will include broadly scoping out later stages of the wider project so that Stage 1 Development (Leith Place) does not conflict with later development.

The general feeling from the submissions was that the Tokoroa business district needs a major revitalisation rather than just a minor 'tidy-up' so Council agreed to that approach. $2.7 million has been allocated to Stage 1 and Council decided that Stage 1 should continue because of demonstrated community and project momentum.

The Working Party has been tasked to come back to Council with one scope and design proposal for final approval by the end of September 2016.

The primary focus for the Stage 1 development is:

  • adequate and appropriate parking for visitors, locals, business owners and employees
  • safe and easy access on and off SH1
  • safe and simple traffic flow off SH1
  • safe and simple traffic flow in the CBD once off SH1 open sight lines into the new development and Tokoroa from SH1
  • the development of new toilets, i-SITE, recreational/shared open space which will give Tokoroa a point of difference, ie a WOW factor to encourage visitors to stop and stimulate community pride
  • an i-SITE development which best promotes Tokoroa and the South Waikato District using the most appropriate design and technology tools available
  • integration of Talking Poles into the Tokoroa CBD development plan leveraging off an overall brand for the town.

The Working Party will also start to consider funding options for the unbudgeted and unfunded later stages of the project.

The project is guided by nine Development Principles, the overall Vision and a three phased approach to the project. Further detail on these are linked below.

Vision and Objectives

We are clear on our Vision.  We understand our Objectives. This section also details the life cycle of Phases 1, 2 and 3, including detail of current status.

Design Brief

The purpose of this is to provide guidance to the Urban Designers (Bossley Architects) and the team of how wide their thinking for designs could go. It is not a check list of what must be included, but what should be considered in any potential designs for Leith Place.

Development Principles

When considering redevelopment there are many facets that need to be taken into consideration. What are our needs, what do our people want, what do we want our place to have, what will our future look like for the project. These guiding principles are applicable for all work that may be considered or done, including traffic designs, urban designs, architectural designs, landscaping designs etc.

History of the project

This project has been discussed for several years. This is outlined here.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are some common queries that we are getting in relation to the project. We do not have all the answers as yet - but we trust that this will cover some of the key questions that you may have. Please feel free to contact the Chief Executive Craig Hobbs or the Project Manager Sarah Flavell on 07 885 0340 if you have any specific questions that are not answered through this information.

Contact Project Manager, the project manager here here.


​Leith Place Concept Plans - Consultation process

Consultation on the Leith Place Concept Plans is now closed.

Public hearings were held at the end of May.

The documents are still available here for your information.

​Option A - The Corner
PDF - display board
Option A - The Corner
Video - flyover
Feedback Form (pdf) OR
Feedback Form (electronic)
Option B - The Shared Space PDF - display boardOption B - The Shared Space
Video - flyover
Feedback Form (pdf) OR
Feedback Form (electronic)
Option C - the L​ane
PDF - display board
Option C - The Lane
Video - flyover
​Feedback Form (pdf) OR
Feedback Form (electronic)

Below also are the background, goals and objectives of the Leith Place project for additinal information.

 Two other documents are linked below for your further interest: parking options and potential traffic changes.

Page reviewed: 22 May 2017 12:27pm