Frequently Asked Questions
Why does Council want to make changes to the Tokoroa CBD?
Upgrading the Tokoroa CBD provides Council with a significant opportunity to showcase Tokoroa's qualities to the world, benefit our community, and increase trade.
During public consultation in October 2016 to January 2017 our retailers, visitors, workers and businesses told Council that they wanted our CBD to be a good public space that attracted visitors and other businesses, promoted positive messages about Tokoroa, and encouraged interaction in our town centre.
This upgrade opens up Tokoroa to be a destination stop on Aotearoa's main road. It will provide our district with a space to be proud of and a place for our people to come together to enjoy the best of their town.
When did this project start?
- 2008 Tokoroa Concept Plan adopted
- 2009 LTP funding identified
- 2012 Principles for development identified - Our People, Our Needs, Our Place, Our FutureLTP funding updated
- 2013 Leith Place Redesign - Scoping Document' received by Council Architect engaged (Bossley) with two staged approach agreed
- 2014 $1m allocated from Economic & Community FundVisitor Solutions draft framework produced
- 2015 Visitor Solutions, along with WA, and Bossley Architects produced Revitalisation Report to help Council better understand the potential scope and impact of a town centre upgrade. LTP updated ($1.5m)
- 2016 Bossley Architects developed three proposed concept plan options. These were presented to the public for feedback with submissions heard in May 2016. Following submissions it was clear that there was some dissatisfaction in the community with the proposed options and the process used. Following a review of the process, the Steering Group determined that none of the proposed options would be taken forward.The Tokoroa CBD Upgrade Working Party formed May 2016, replacing the Steering Group. The Working Party undertook Consultative Urban Design with Urbanism Plus to ensure the community's ideas were integrated into the options for the Tokoroa CBD Upgrade.
- 2017 Council was presented several options for Leith Place, along with community feedback. Council decided to progress with the recommended framework for the upgrade. RDT Pacific were appointed to provide project management and procurement services to the project. The Project Control Group (PCG) was formed and DCA Architects were awarded the tender for the design.
- 2018 The plans for the Tokoroa CBD Upgrade have been presented to Council and community.Trees were felled in March-April 2018.Construction of the new i-SITE was put on hold once it was known that construction costs had exceeded the budget allocated. In late 2018, Council resolved to not go ahead with the new proposed i-SITE building and work is currently underway to review how best to use the area as an open space.
When will construction start and how long is it going to take?
Development of the site is planned to begin in early 2019.
Why were the trees removed?
- Visibility into the town Given the bypasses of both Cambridge in the north and Taupō in the south, Tokoroa is perfectly placed to be a destination stop for SH1 travellers - but if we want people to stop, we need to be seen. Removing the trees will allow for greater visibility into the town centre from SH1.
- New attractions, trees and public art The design of the new CBD area provides a beautiful open space for locals and visitors to use and enjoy. Leaving the trees as they are would limit the available space for new attractions and would also detract from the impact we believe the new attractions will have. Removing the trees ensures that the Talking Pole Forest and new i-SITE building is visible from all angles. The raised lawn will be a sunny place to sit and enjoy lunch or a break from the road.
- Safety and the age of the trees Some trees in the Leith Place area and wider Tokoroa CBD are reaching an age where they have become a public safety concern. Over the 2017 Christmas period a large branch from one of our Copper Beach trees came down on the roof of a parked car and we are very fortunate that no one was hurt. Council will be looking into options for all mature trees in our district in the coming years.
The type of trees in Leith Place (conifers) produce lots of needles, cones and pollen, and because they are evergreen they create unwanted shade through the winter period. Council will be planting new trees in Leith Place that are more suitable for a CBD area.
What is going to happen to The Pine Man and Greenman?
The Pine Man will be staying where he is, and will become a part of the Talking Pole Forest.
Sadly the Greenman has suffered considerable rot over the years. On inspection in late 2018, it became very apparent that he had become unstable. The team at Todd McPhee Crane Hire have removed him for safety reasons and he is currently at the Council depot.
The Greenman was originally carved from a dying/dead tree that was still rooted in the ground. The artist - Andy Hancock - specialises in carving in dead/dying trees. His work is not designed to last forever. It is sad, but the Greenman was always going to have a limited life expectancy. When it became apparent that the Greenman had become as iconic for our town as he had, Council cut him off from his decaying root system, mounted him on a base and gave him some treatment for the rot that had already set in back in 2011. This treatment was never going to be a permanent fix.
We have since assessed the Greenman's condition. It's not good news we're afraid. The internal rot has taken hold everywhere except for the outer 2cm which was treated in 2011 to delay further rotting. Because only the treated exoskeleton is providing structural support, he is no longer safe to stand. On two sides the Greenman shows visible signs of splitting and flexing around the bolt supports, which is why he was moved so urgently.
During the move, despite the team being exceptionally careful, several large cracks have appeared in the main truck and large branches. He has very little structural integrity. Sadly at this stage, Council feels that re-installing him in a public place is unsafe.
We don't yet know what the full options are around possibly saving him or laying him to rest. We will keep the community posted on this.
What will happen to other Talking Poles in the CBD
Talking poles within the CBD outside of Leith Place will remain, except for Te Toki Poutangata, which will be moved to the cluster in Leith Place. There are currently 9 talking poles in Leith Place, four of these will be retained in the area. The remaining talking poles will be gathered from those that are currently positioned along SH1. We are working with a curator from Waikato Museum. Raukawa and the architect to ensure that the poles are positioned in the best possible location.
Are we losing any car parking?
Leith Place has gone from 132 car parks to 100. To help deal with the loss of these 32 car parks, Council is making improvements to the Dreghorn car park, less than 500m away - this includes improved parking, signage, lighting and the installation of CCTV cameras.
The car parks in Leith Place will be 60 to 120 minute parks and
will be monitored by Council to help with available parking. We have retained the
same number of disabled parking spaces.
Will I still be able to access the Leith Place car park from Bridge Street and Swanston Street?
Yes, once the development is complete.
Access will be restricted to some car parks during the tree felling for approximately two weeks. During the Tokoroa CBD Upgrade construction will we be taking advice from contractors as to how we will manage the space considering safe work practices and public safety. Council will keep our community informed.
Am I allowed to bike in Leith Place?
Yes. Bike stands will be installed in Leith Place and the area will be bicycle friendly.
Who will be maintaining the CBD area once it is complete?
The management of the Tokoroa CBD area will remain with Council. We are investigating how we can, not only maintain the area, but also activate it to its full potential so that locals and visitors are getting the most out of our town centre as possible.
Are we getting new public toilets?
Yes. 24 hour toilets will be part of the refurbishment. The old toilet block will be removed. Disabled toilets and a baby change station will also be available around the clock.
What is the budget for the upgrade?
The total budget is $3,970,000