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Catering for commercial centres

Catering for commercial centres

From now on North Shore City Council will be upgrading commercial centres in the city based on need, how they function and future growth.

Instead of dedicating funds to the completion of all projects in one area at a time, the money will be allocated to those centres which require immediate work.

The council's strategy and finance committee today endorsed the approach, and the three-year plan for implementing centre plan projects.

Committee chairperson, Tony Holman, says this is the most sensible way of meeting the most pressing needs of the city's commercial centres.

"We do have an overall plan, but some of these areas desperately need money spent on them now, not in two or three years time when it's their turn," he says.

"This way funding can be allocated based on specific criteria relating to need, potential to improve how they function and the ability to accommodate future residential and employment growth."

To date four centre plans - for Devonport, Albany Village, Browns Bay and Takapuna - have been developed, and others are under way for Albany and Highbury. Plans for Glenfield, Takapuna fringe and Sunnynook will also be done in the future.

Additional funding of $900,000 in the 2004-2014 City Plan has increased the council's commercial areas upgrade budget to about $1.4m a year over the next decade.

Over the next three years, projects scheduled include improvements to lighting and pedestrian access at Takapuna central car park and the reconfiguration of Hurstmere Green to provide a civic heart for the area. Albany Village's main street will be upgraded, and a promenade created at Browns Bay as well as the service lane adjacent to the beachfront reserve upgraded.

"Having a three-year programme like this also means we can be more efficient - we can work in with other council projects to save time, inconvenience and money," says Councillor Holman.

"All our centres are dynamic and evolving, so we will also be able to adjust the plans slightly if necessary as we go."

Community boards throughout the city have been closely involved in identifying the top priorities when in comes to upgrading their commercial centres.

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