27 Jan 2010

Heart of Nelson 2010 January newsletter

Introduction

Welcome to the first Heart of Nelson Strategy Newsletter.

The idea of this newsletter is to update people who have an interest in the Strategy as plans are implemented. There are 104 different projects under the overarching heading of “Heart of Nelson” so you can expect lots of progress once the steering and initial contract relationships are confirmed. You will not see a lot happening on the ground until mid 2010, as there is a lot of detailed planning and ‘ducks to line up’ before the physical roll out can happen.

The newsletter will be quarterly, but if you would like to opt out at any time please reply with “unsubscribe” in the subject line.

Urban Designers appointed

The Isthmus Group has been appointed to the role of Urban Design Consultant for the implementation phase of the project, working with local urban designer/landscape architect, Robin Simpson. They are charged with taking the broader ideas in the Strategy and developing specific designs for individual projects. They’ll pay special attention to form and function and how each project is integrated into an overall design theme and with the existing landscape and infrastructure.

Isthmus has a great track record of work around New Zealand including high profile projects like Kumutoto Wharf on Wellington’s Waterfront, the City Mall in Christchurch and the New Plymouth Coastal Walkway among many others.

Iwi Arts & Design Advisory Panel

A panel of iwi representatives has been set up to provide advice on opportunities to incorporate Maori art and design in projects. This was successfully done on the new Aratuna (Normandy) Bridge on Bridge St.

Arts Consultant appointed

Nelsonian Janet Bathgate has been appointed to the role of Arts Consultant. The appointment of an Arts Consultant, Janet Bathgate, is part of the commitment Council made in the Nelson Tasman Regional Arts Strategy to incorporate an arts focus into Council projects. Janet will focus on identifying opportunities where art can enhance the project design, either on a large or small scale. Janet has worked with both Nelson City Council and Department of Conservation on many artistic and information based projects, such as the interpretation of the art on the Aratuna/Normanby Bridge.

New approach to implementation

Council staff have taken a fresh new approach in implementing the Heart of Nelson Strategy.

Lack of joined up thinking or continuity and consistency have been criticisms levelled at Council projects in the past. In response an Implementation Group has been established that includes key staff from all areas of Council. This group is headed by Martin Workman, Manager Environmental Policy. Martin says “Because the Strategy is so wide ranging, with each project touching on many different departments we are using this approach to ensure the lines of communication are open and we don’t miss any opportunities to tie projects together wherever possible. The aim is to make the implementation run as smoothly as possible.”

Talking to the experts

Council continues to gather ideas and inspiration for future Heart of Nelson projects by listening and talking to a wide range of acknowledged experts. The most recent visit was from Doctor Rodney Tolley, Head of the Centre for Alternative and Sustainable Transport at the University of Staffordshire. Dr Tolley is world renowned for his work in making cities more “walkable”. He also stresses the importance of logical and intuitive city lay-outs to assist with way-finding. He peer reviewed the proposed approach to implement some of these issues from the Strategy and provided lots or valuable feedback to Council staff on several matters.

 

What is happening next?

Design work is underway on a package of improvements in and around Montgomery Square. This includes upgrading the Bank Lane and Hardy Street entrances, more trees, the new plaza area and other work. This work will include liaison with potentially affected businesses and landowners.

Another major project in the design phase is the widened and improved pathway from the city to the sea, downstream from the Trafalgar St Bridge.

Work is also underway on a ‘wayfinding’ package – this includes a major roll-out of signs and information boards to help visitors and locals find their way around more easily, and to learn more about what they are seeing. This, and the other projects, aim to be in place in time for the influx of visitors for the Rugby World Cup.

The HON Strategy also proposes beautifying the city through a Street Tree Planting programme. This will build on the success of previous planting in the central city, and provide amenity to the city fringe. Areas for planting have been identified on Vanguard Street, Halifax Street, Collingwood Street, Lower Tasman Street and North Road, Bridge Street and Rutherford Street, and a planting programme for these streets will commence in autumn 2010. Further planting programmes were developed in Council parks and reserves, and the first of these was completed in October with 38 Titoki and Totara trees being planted adjacent to the North Road entrance to Neale Park.

Contacts

For more information contact

Martin Workman, Manager Environmental Policy
phone 546 0431

Simon Talbot, Senior Engineering Officer
phone 546 0272

David Jackson, Senior Policy Planner
phone 546 0432

More information

The final strategy was confirmed in September of this year, with the full document available on the Council website www.nelsoncitycouncil.co.nz (search phrase = HoN strategy). Updates will also be posted on this website and included in Live Nelson.

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