Tokoroa CBD Upgrade
Update - Wednesday 13 March 2019
Next week, works will begin in the Leith Place area as the Tokoroa CBD Development project kicks off.
Council resolved last year to not proceed with the construction of the iconic building due to the significant increase in construction costs meaning the full project would have gone over budget by close to a $1M.
Council went back to the drawing board to determine what would deliver on the aspects that were essential. Critical elements include the civil works*, new toilets, Talking Pole forest development, creating a ‘Wow’ factor to draw visitors and a plaza area for visitors and locals to use.
People will see the removal of the Talking Poles start next week. These poles will be stored safely at the Council depot until the civils part is complete when they will be reinstated as part of the Talking Pole forest towards the southern end of Leith Place (near the existing Chainsaw Man). The Chainsaw Man himself will not be moving. During the removal of the individual Talking Poles some coned safety barriers will be required which will impact a few parking bays at a time, many will be behind the construction fence..
From Monday 18 March, construction fences will be erected to cordon off the southern ‘half’ of the current parking area. The old i-SITE building and toilets will be demolished. Once civils in the southern ‘half’ are complete, the construction fence will shift to the other ‘half’ for the civils there to be completed.
During the construction period the bus stop will operate from outside the Raukawa office block (between the building and the Gull Service Station). Public toilets will be available at the temporary i-SITE in Leith Place, from 9am to 5pm weekdays; and from 9am to 1pm weekends, and again from 4pm to 5pm.
Council is liaising with the contractor regarding night works to see what is possible in this regard to minimise impact on retailers and the public as much as possible. The stormwater upgrades associated with the State Highway upgrades continue into Swanston Street and will impact on access into the Leith Place carpark and have some impact on businesses along Swanston Street.
Once stage 1 of the project (the civils) is complete, stage 2 will follow (new toilets and return of the Talking Poles). Parts of Stage 1 and 2 may occur simultaneously.
Obviously parking will be limited during the construction period. People are encouraged to use the Dreghorn carpark which can be accessed off Dreghorn Place, off Mannering Street and off Swanston Street. This carpark has been resurfaced, trees removed and CCTV and lighting installed for safety and security reasons.
Council also continues to liaise with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) on dovetailing the adjoining State Highway works as much as possible.
Two new toilet designs will be going to Council for discussion at the end of March. Following that, designs will be made available to the public for viewing at the Council offices, libraries and on our website. Council is still doing final costings on the two designs and has some decisions to make regarding which toilet option to go with. The total project will be retained within the budget set.
“We want to retain as many of the factors initially identified as critical to the success of the CBD development,” said Mayor Jenny Shattock. “This includes a plaza area that our community and locals can enjoy and that can be used for small events, gatherings and markets. It should also include a ‘Wow’ factor that will attract passing travellers.”
Other factors include new toilets and improved parking area surface; along with a focus area for our Talking Poles.
The civil work will impact power service to the clock in Bridge street. This clock will become solar powered from funding outside of the CBD project funding. Ends: words: 636
* civil works includes: demolition of the old building including foundations, tree root removal, earthworks, underground services like water, wastewater and stormwater pipelines, paving and sealing of carpark and roads.
Revitalising the CBD area in Tokoroa and bringing vibrancy into the town's centre has been one of Council's great ambitions over the past decade.
"We want to thank our community for their input into the engagement/consultation process. We have consulted with you at length over the years, and your thoughts and ideas have made a huge impact to the final design," commented Mayor Jenny Shattock.
The upgrade features a fresh new Leith Place dedicated to enhancing the Tokoroa experience for locals and visitors alike. Green space, seated eating areas, public art and activities. Initially the project had a key feature for a new i-SITE building however increasing building costs made the full project unaffordable. So went back to the drawing board.
"We're taking a step back to re-establish the principles agreed with the community a year ago," said Chief Executive Ben Smit. "We will also be investigating how technology changes can be used to better inform visitors to our district."
Council will also be scoping the proposed Town Centre Manager function and how that role could be used to activate the Leith Place area and wider town retail space.
Once a revised full project scope is in place Council will communicate this to the community.
Following this, steps are likely to include a selection of landscape and plaza space designs, including a new toilet and activation space; which the community can provide feedback on.
"Given the current costs our Council and community are facing, we think our decision to step away from the building at this stage is prudent," said Mayor Jenny Shattock. "There will be opportunity for community feedback on redesigns for the plaza area, so do keep your thoughts coming."
NZTA will be working on the highway in March and Council will dovetail stormwater improvements with these works to support the development.
STEPS TO DATE
The trees in Leith Place have been removed. We will be planting new trees in Leith Place as well as other plantings to help keep our town centre looking green and vibrant.
State Highway 1 has changed to one northern lane and one southern lane with on and off ramps to improve safety and access into the CBD. The stretch of state highway through Tokoroa is due for further refurbishment in early 2019.
LOCAL ROAD CHANGES
There will be some changes to the Bridge Street and Swanston Street entrances into Leith Place to help improve safety and accessibility.
Carparks in Leith Place will drop from 132 to 100 to make way for the new open space. Council has made improvements to the Dreghron Carpark to compensate for the loss of these parks. Two electric car charging stations will be installed somewhere in the CBD area.
Council is investing $3,970,000 into the Tokoroa CBD Upgrade. This figure covers all the important costs, from infrastructure down to road marking.