The prominent main street Winter’s building site is set to be transformed into Wairoa’s tourism and information hub.
Wairoa District Council will relocate the Wairoa i-Site and Intercity Bus Service to the prime central town corner location. Council has agreed to proceed through to a detailed design and consenting of a retrofit of part of the existing structure. This design will follow a preliminary design developed by architects Collaborative Project Studios. It will include the new i-Site, which will be easily accessible and include restrooms and a flexible multi-purpose space.
The project has been scaled back to ensure affordability but will still deliver a new main street social and cultural hub.
The Winter’s corner comprises three buildings. The new concept will involve removing the main street two-story concrete building and the smaller Locke Street building directly behind it. The development will focus on the existing building adjacent to the Gemmell’s site, which will be strengthened and retrofitted into the new i-Site.
The new development will complement the Gemmell’s precinct and community courtyard. The area created from the demolished buildings will be revitalised and form an integral part of the new facility.
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said the Te Wairoa E Whanake – Rise Up and Grow Wairoa project has always been about transforming the main street by redeveloping the burnt-out building site and the neighbouring underutilised former Winter’s building.
“We have had to ensure we could deliver a cost-effective fit-for-purpose space that meets the funding criteria. COVID-19, cost increases, extreme weather events and Cyclone Gabrielle have added to the challenges. It is, therefore, really exciting to transform this once neglected area of our main street into an active community hub.”
The project is predominantly funded through a $4.8 million Provincial Growth Fund grant from Kānoa, the Government’s Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit. It focuses on delivering a multi-functional, connected town centre that blends Wairoa’s unique heritage and culture with a modern planned development that will offer connectivity and a space for locals and visitors to gather, socialise, and connect.
Mr Little said the Council had met its milestones and worked alongside Kānoa throughout the project. “The focus has always been on the best outcome for Wairoa. I would like to acknowledge the support Kānoa has given us, particularly the understanding of our additional challenges. The delays we have experienced have been out of our control, and we have had to pivot accordingly, so it is great to be edging closer to a final result. We started this project because the community told us they were sick of having burnt-out and unused buildings in a prime area of the main street. This project will result in transformed spaces for our community that will be modern, fresh, new and meet the demands of life now and into the future.”
Kānoa Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit Principal Regional Advisor Hawke’s Bay Cameron Osmond said this is great news for the Wairoa community and an exciting development. “The community has faced enormous challenges this year, so it’s been great to work with the Council to plan and carry out these two phases of the project, knowing what the results can bring. I'm looking forward to seeing the project progress."
Meanwhile, the community courtyard development in the main street former burnt-out building site is tracking well and is on target to be completed this year, in time for Christmas.
A lease agreement for the first tenant is now in place with hospitality and entertainment entrepreneurs Layton and Ange Gemmell signed up to operate their business, Gemmells – Café, Bar and Restaurant, from the new facility. Other tenancy agreements are with the tenants for review, with signing expected in September.
Removal of the two Winter’s buildings is expected to begin in the spring. There will be some disruption to traffic and pedestrians while this work takes place.
4 September 2023
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