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Jackson Street Is A Regional Attraction

NEWS RELEASE

from Hutt City Council

9 June 2003

Jackson Street Is A Regional Attraction

Council's vision for Jackson Street, Petone is for a thriving regional attraction contributing to the economic development of the city through a mix of retail, café and service businesses, said Acting Chief Executive, Stuart Duncan.

He was responding to recent comments that there appeared to be a lack of vision concerning Council's Jackson St improvements.

"The aim is to provide a refreshing and pleasant alternative to places such as Wellington's Cuba Mall and Newtown for families on day trips during weekends and young people out for coffee and brunch and a look around," said Stuart Duncan.

"There has always been a vision, and it has not changed since Council included $332,000 in the 2001/02 Annual Plan to carry out environmental improvements."

A further $300,000 was included in the 2002/03 Annual Plan, and another $300,000 is included in the 2003/04 draft Community Plan. If confirmed in the Community Plan, next [financial] year's funding will be used for an additional pedestrian crossing on Jackson St, pedestrian crossing facilities on all side streets, plantings, rubbish bins and lighting poles, all designed to present a unified "heritage" look for the area.

"The key point is that Jackson Street should now be considered as a regional attraction and the role of the strip has changed - from a local 'pop in and shop'-type retail strip to one that incorporates cafes and outside dining options, galleries and specialty shops drawing visitors from far and wide.

"This means people will not turn around and go home again if they can't find a park right outside the shop they want to visit. We actually want people to park and walk because that way they walk past other shops and hopefully support those businesses too.

A recent Council audit showed that the improvement works have not resulted in any reduction in the overall number of carparks available.

"Jackson Street is also hosting more events, not just the growing phenomenon that is the Jackson Street Fair but also, for example, the very successful Jackson Street Fiesta.

However, Council's spending is not solely about attracting more shoppers. A key plank in Council's Economic Development Strategy is attracting and retaining businesses and creating jobs.

"In discussions with some of the bigger businesses in the area we've been told that their staff are much happier there now than, say, five years ago when Jackson Street was a little more 'rustic.'

New businesses that have recently moved, or are in the process of moving, into the area are Booker Spalding and the Civil Aviation Authority (which was looking to move from Lower Hutt's CBD area into Wellington).

"There has been extensive consultation over the Jackson Street improvements and Council has always sought to work with, and discuss issues raised by, individual retailers, the Jackson Street Programme and the Petone Community Board.

"Taking the time to get the consultation right has meant that the work has sometimes not progressed as quickly as we would have liked.

"But I can assure people that all work scheduled for this financial year will be completed within agreed contract periods and there should be no doubt that Council is leading the transformation of Jackson Street with a clear vision of what we want to achieve."

Improvements works in the current financial year have been in the area between Victoria and Bay Streets. Work in the coming financial year will be in the area between Bay and Buick Streets.

"We are confident that, now that people have a better idea as to what to expect, the next stage of works will go a lot more smoothly. If the additional funding in the draft Community Plan is confirmed, detailed plans for the next phase of work could be ready for consultation by the end of July."

ENDS

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