The activation and revitalisation of our City Centre is focussed around Six Key Moves that Council has developed to address the significant transformative opportunities in Nelson City:
- Destination Nelson
- Walkable Nelson
- Blue-Green Heart
- Smart Development
- Liveable Centre
- Clever Business
That transformation will be guided by a spatial plan to define the changes needed to make sure that our City Centre meets everyone’s needs, now and in the future. The plan will create a people-focused, place-based vision for the City Centre that attracts investment, residents, talent, thriving business, families, and events - the foundations of A Smart Little City.
Work on the Spatial Plan and a Parking Strategy for the City is ongoing but have been delayed by COVID-19. They are essential for understanding how to best invest in our City Centre. Until they are complete, Council’s $15.3 million provision for developing the City Centre will not be allocated to specific projects. The exceptions to this are the Streets for People programme ($2.7 million), which is currently being implemented, and the urban park ($1.4 million).
The most vital aspect of this project is to understand what you want from your City Centre and where you think the opportunities for improvement are. We have heard from a broad cross-section of the community about their aspirations for the City Centre and, building on that base, we are continuing conversations with interested groups and individuals. As part of the Spatial Plan engagement process, Council will hold a variety of sessions with the Nelson community.
It has become clear during this process that successful urban centres are destinations that are not just recognised for their retail and services offerings but also for the unique experiences they deliver: great food, arts and culture, and vibrant events. Underlying all experiences is one factor - people. People walking, shopping, enjoying a snack and great coffee at an outdoor café, chatting to friends on a bench under a street tree canopy, make the City Centre come alive.
Successful urban centres are destinations that are not just recognised for their retail and services offerings but also for the unique experiences they deliver.
When complete, the Spatial Plan will present a direction that also incorporates climate emissions reduction, adaptation, resilience, high quality developments which embrace intensification opportunities, transport modal shift, iwi partnership, Nelson’s arts culture, and our locally celebrated hospitality and retail sectors. It will help connect Nelson’s thriving City Centre to our stunning natural landscapes.
The Spatial Plan will consider the needs of new residents living in and around Nelson’s City Centre. This will include integrating urban greening measures and play spaces for families.
Trial projects under the City Centre Streets for People programme will continue from 2021/22 to 2023/24, to investigate ideas for spatial development and determine what works for the community. From 2024/25 to 2026/27 we will begin implementing more permanent solutions.
What are the alternatives?
An option to reduce the Central City spend would be to not develop the planned urban park at a cost of $1.4 million. This would be a saving of $1.4 million on debt and $110,000 p.a. on rates but would mean the loss of a project that will bring people into the centre of Nelson, particularly engaging families and youth, and supporting local businesses.
Science and Technology Precinct
Port Nelson, in collaboration with the Cawthron Institute, is looking to develop a Science and Technology Precinct on a piece of land bordered by Wildman Avenue and Vickerman Street alongside State Highway 6.
The Precinct will be a hub of innovation and creativity, and will further augment Nelson’s leading position as a location for value- add companies working in the ocean economy and aquaculture space. The involvement of Nelson’s Cawthron Institute, with its 100 years’ experience delivering world-class science, will blaze a trail for a range of national and international tenants.
Companies from a variety of sectors working to provide solutions to some of our regions’ most pressing challenges in science and research, information technology, software development, health, agritech and aquatech, will be targeted to locate in the Precinct. With a growing appetite for new ways to work, there has been increased interest from technology companies that are considering relocating to Nelson.
The campus will include a collaborative workspace and shared amenities such as conference facilities. With innovation as a key theme, it will be designed to a high environmental standard, which will include open spaces and a park-like environment, and connect to the City Centre via the Maitai River walkway and cycleway.
The Precinct will support the work being undertaken by Council to improve the City to Sea connection, contribute to economic development opportunities (which is consistent with our vision for Nelson to be A Smart Little City), and align with the Te Tauihu Intergenerational Strategy.
The attraction of new-high value companies and their staff to Nelson will generate sustainable economic value for the region, and supports our desire to be a City that provides modern opportunities to live, work and play.
To support the right mix of companies to be attracted to the site, Council is proposing to provide support for the development of the Precinct in this Long Term Plan. There is an allocation of $3.5 million proposed in the Long Term Plan and project initiation funding of $1.5 million already available in the current year. This would result in total support of up to $5 million which would have an impact on rates of $250,000 per annum for 50 years.