Bringing vibrancy back to Porirua
Phase two of Porirua City’s central business district enhancement is underway as the council works to deliver on a broader masterplan aiming to bring vibrancy, distinctiveness and legibility back to the CBD.
An area once in decline with shops closing down, the CBD is now being rejuvenated with a $21 million, 10-year strategy. Bringing people and commerce back to into the hub is at the heart of the work. Cobham Court – at the centre of the Phase 2 development is the focus for that.
Integrated design studio, Isthmus, is leading the project, with landscape architect Blair Brixton overseeing design on the project. “The project aims to create a CBD which is a focus for community, activity, and commerce by creating unique and high quality public spaces that offer a platform for everyday use and events. Underlying all of this are broader principles aiming to improve navigation into the city and to its core”:
He says the impact of phase one of the project (a kiosk and public toilets within a central pocket park, and an improved carpark) completed in 2016, has been massive. While it was relatively modest in scope Brixton says it was a catalyst project and set the tone for the rest of the redevelopment - helping garner support for the larger upcoming Phase 2 and potential future projects.
Making the decision to remove the existing canopies which Porirua had become associated with over the years was another key move. Porirua City Council’s advisor on the project, Jane Black, said removing the canopies was a great success in terms of reducing crime and allowing light in to the area. The perception of safety increased as a result.
Another significant feature of phase two is Porirua’s peace memorial. The monument, in Te Rauparaha Park, is the centre of war and peace commemorations in the city and the site of Anzac Day services. It’s due to be finished in time for this year’s Anzac service.
Jane Black says the CBD revitalisation sends a message that the council has confidence in the area. Feedback has been positive and she hopes it’ll encourage private investors into the area as well.