$2 million incentive package to attract investment in Rotorua CBD

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Rotorua District Council (RDC) is to offer financial incentives to developers investing in projects that will help revitalise Rotoruas CBD.

The proposal was one of a number of recommendations adopted by the councils Economic & Regulatory Services Committee today as the first phase in implementing the citys Urban Design Framework.

The committee heard that the Eat Street and Night Market pilot concepts successfully introduced to Rotorua were already bringing more vibrancy and activity to the central business area.

Other proposals adopted at the meeting include proceeding with development of a visitor walking route through the city and a new public transport hub aimed at centralising local and regional bus operations in Haupapa Street.

The CBD investment package would see the cost of all Development Contributions other than those for water and waste, covered from the councils Grow Rotorua Development Fund. The scheme will apply to a CBD areagenerally bound by the Lakefront and Fenton, Amohau and Amohia streets, and will be for applications approved in the 2011/12 financial year. The package will be limited to a total incentive value of up to $2 million, and endorsed projects will need to be completed by 30 June 2014.

RDC economic and regulatory services group manager Mark Rawson said the aim is to revitalise the central city, encourage new developments and building upgrades, and make the downtown area a vibrant, twenty first century destination for visitors and locals.

The incentive package would provide a stimulus for upgrading old buildings in the CBD and attracting new businesses by reducing some of the financial barriers to development investment.

The councils proposals also include plans to turn Rotorua into a walkable city with the first phase being a clearly defined priority pedestrian link between the Lakefront and Rotorua Mall with feeder walking links to Government Gardens and Kuirau Park.

Mr Rawson said the walking routes would provide interpretative signage to help people find their way around the city and to points of interest along the way, and in due course would employ the latest digital visitor information technology for telling the stories of the citys history, art and culture.

The third proposal, a new bus transport hub, would be focused on Haupapa Street opposite the library near the councils current open car park. It would reduce congestion around the existing Pukuatua St bus stop area and around the heavily congested Tourism Rotorua i-SITE on Fenton St. The bus centre would be designed in a way to provide shelter from the weather, while maintaining easy access to the CBDs main retail precinct and walking links to Government Gardens and Kuirau Park.

Public toilet needs would also be assessed as part of the programme.

Mr Rawson said the Urban Design Framework was an ambitious plan to give the CBD a makeover and revitalise its look and feel. He said implementation of future phases would be progressed through public/private partnerships and managed through the councils Economic & Regulatory Services Committee. It would involve ongoing widespread engagement with the community.

In the long run the important factors of the Urban Design Frameworks success will be around attracting more people to visit, live and work in the citys shop front the CBD and all implementation elements will be focused on these objectives, he said.

For more information:

Mark Rawson, Economic & Regulatory Services Group Manager, Rotorua District Council, phone 07 351 8305 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 07 351 8305 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, mobile 027 440 5843 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 027 440 5843 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

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