Bridge to Better - Project Updates

When it comes to Nelson’s city centre, what does ‘better’ look like for you?

An extended programme of community engagement gets underway from 22 September 2023 for a major infrastructure project in the Inner City that will provide capacity for hundreds of city centre homes, build the resilience of Nelson’s three waters infrastructure, and revitalise Bridge Street.

Supported by $36M of funding from the Government’s Infrastructure Acceleration Fund, the Bridge to Better project has $32M funding from Council already budgeted in the 2021-31 Long Term Plan (and in the 2023/24 Annual Plan). Council may need to consider bringing forward and refining existing budgets in the Long Term Plan 2024-34 to progress the work and to consider increased construction costs of up to $12 million.

Bridge to Better will involve:

  • Construction of a water supply ring main along Bridge Street, Rutherford Street, Halifax Street and Collingwood Street.
  • A new stormwater main along Bridge Street and Haven Road and associated green infrastructure to increase stormwater capacity, and a new flood gate at Saltwater Creek, which will reduce the impact of king tides at Wakatu carpark.
  • A wastewater pump station upgrade on Paru Paru Road and renewal/upgrade of Rutherford Street, Achilles Avenue and Bridge Street wastewater infrastructure.
  • Transformation of Bridge Street and Haven Road into a people-focused corridor, with more green places, more places to socialise, a more sustainable commercial environment and more transport choices.

Retail specialist Chris Wilkinson from First Retail Group will look after Bridge Street retailers throughout this phase of the project.

“Council have been clear that they want to work closely with retailers, businesses and property owners on Bridge Street so they can minimise disruption once construction starts,” says Chris. “Perhaps more importantly though, there is a positive story to tell here, about how this work will bring new life to one of Nelson’s most characterful streets.

“We’re in place to nurture a good relationship between Council and Bridge Street businesses ensuring they are prepared for change and that all can benefit once work is complete. First Retail Group Ltd has worked on many successful projects at the same scale including the city centre upgrade in Queenstown, the Lower Hutt Riverlink project, and many similar projects overseas.

“We’re seeing a significant shift toward these types of spaces in areas with similar climates and audiences that Nelson enjoys.”

The first phase of engagement lasts from 22 September to the end of February. During the first few months of this phase the engagement team will be hosting meetings for a wide variety of stakeholder groups. From retailers, older adults, and youth representatives right through to civic institutions such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Suter Gallery, we will be out in the community talking about the Bridge Street project, and collating people’s values and ideas.

All this early feedback will be considered by Boffa Miskell as they work on the concept design, which is due for completion early 2024. Once the design is in place, Council will hold a four-to-six-week period of engagement where anyone provide feedback.

Bridge Street today

What could it look like in the future?