Fresh plan for Harbour St ‘needed’

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A public meeting on Wednesday should go some ways to establishing a consensus on what the community wants to happen to the Victorian precinct, Project Harbour Street 1878 chairman David Wilson says.

On Wednesday, from 5pm at the Oamaru Opera House, a public meeting will be held asking the public what they would like to see happen with the street.

“We need to get past divided opinions and come up with a fresh plan that fully maximises the potential of the Victorian precinct,” Mr Wilson said.

There was a “lack of cohesion” between various stakeholders in regards to where the historic precinct is headed which resulted in “a multi-million dollar heritage tourism site punching well below its weight”, Mr Wilson said.

Issues such as whether the street should be closed to traffic, installing new signage, putting in street furniture and more will be up for discussion with the groups attending, he said.

“I think there is growing support to take it to the next level,” Mr Wilson said.

All the stakeholders needed to work together to make the precinct the best it could be, he said.

“If there’s going to be any substantial movement forward after the meeting on Wednesday night there will need to be an independent group of representatives from council, Whitestone Trust, Tourism Waitaki, chamber, businesses, tenants, building owners and community.”

Opinions over what should be done with the street, in regards to traffic management, beautification and more, had come out in a January meeting and the Project Harbour Street group had built a strategy around those ideas.

That strategy would be discussed on Wednesday to try and establish a community consensus on what the future of Harbour St and the Victorian precinct should be, Mr Wilson said.

He was expecting a wide cross-section of those involved with the precinct in some capacity, Mr Wilson said.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher will be among those in attendance.

Mr Kircher said traffic management on Harbour St and around the historic precinct was a big focus for the council.

Council did not yet have “a fixed position on what we should be doing” with the street though, he said.

Mr Kircher said he was hoping for people to “understand and be aware of different aspects of issues with Harbour St” as a result of the meeting.

By DAVID DE LOREAN

PHOTO: FILE

PUBLIC MEETING: The future of Harbour St will be discussed in a public meeting this Wednesday.