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Streetscapes to stockwater covered in LTP hearings

Streetscapes to stockwater covered in LTP hearings
Justin Skilling has a vision of turning the Triangle into a laneway and he has presented it to the Ashburton District Council to consider in its long-term plan. PHOTO JONATHAN LEASK/LDR

Developer Justin Skilling has presented his vision for the redevelopment of the Triangle precinct to the Ashburton District Council.

Skilling formally presented his proposal at the first of four submission hearings for the long-term plan on Monday.

He presented his idea for the council to extend its CBD rejuvenation project into the Triangle Precinct and develop the streetscape from where Wills Street and Victoria Street divide by the Devon Hotel, all the way down to Baring Square East.

Skilling and fellow developer Robert Grice have been restoring the old buildings along Victoria Street and have big plans for continued major redevelopment.

They are proposing the council consider the concept of closing the section of the street off to vehicles to make a laneway.

Looking at it now was “the perfect opportunity” given the conversations around the future of the Balmoral Hall site and the possibility of creating an arts and hospitality precinct, extending to the Events Centre, Skilling said.

There is also the opportunity to redevelop the old polytech land next to the Balmoral Hall into a car park that could cater to long-term parking, he said.

His submission was the last of the day. Earlier, DanceWorx dance studio teachers Charmaine Quaid and Jessie Thompson presented their case to councillors to retain Balmoral Hall.

They both want the council to consider a “modest upgrade” of the building to retain its affordability, both for ratepayers and potential users.

Quaid spoke of her grave concerns that the hall's fate would be decided by the $1.3m price tag to fix it up and she didn’t want to see the building “levelled down to a piece of tarmac”.

The future of stockwater was one of the main themes on Monday, with the hearing kicking off with submissions from Rangitata Diversion Race Management Ltd, Ashburton Lyndhurst Irrigation Limited, and Barrhill Chertsey Irrigation Ltd.

The hearings continue with a full day today, a half-day on Wednesday and the final day on Thursday.

Councillors will then make decisions on the long-term plan during deliberations on May 20-23.

The final plan is scheduled to be adopted in June.

By Jonathan Leask