Public cash for carparks criticised

By Lawrence Gullery

CONCEPT: An aerial view showing the proposed redevelopment at the "Happy Tav" site, Te Aute Rd, Havelock North, which could include major work on upgrading the carpark to the left of the site in this concept picture. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
CONCEPT: An aerial view showing the proposed redevelopment at the "Happy Tav" site, Te Aute Rd, Havelock North, which could include major work on upgrading the carpark to the left of the site in this concept picture. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Havelock North commercial and residential ratepayers will fund redevelopment of a carpark which will benefit a long-proposed hotel development in the centre of the village.

Hastings District Council agreed it would redevelop the former "fire station" carpark at the same time work on the Iconz "Happy Tav" hotel development was under way on Te Aute Rd. The development, headed by Lowmac Properties, includes transforming the bar into a 56-room boutique hotel with conference facilities, a restaurant, offices, retail space and basement parking for 100 vehicles.

Havelock North ward councillor Wayne Bradshaw was disappointed the council agreed to use money from the Havelock North parking account to redevelop the carpark. "The parking account was set up about 2007 to receive a targeted rate that Havelock North residential and commercial property owners have to pay, in exchange for keeping the village free of parking meters.

"It was to raise money to fund new carparks and instead we are seeing a significant amount of that money being used for developing old carparks instead."

There was $370,134 in the carpark account. Cr Bradshaw believed residential ratepayers contributed about $20 a year to the fund and commercial ratepayers chipped in about $70 a year. Retailers paid a larger figure because they benefited the most from free parking in the shopping centre.

The council's community safety manager Philip Evans' report showed redeveloping the Te Aute Rd carpark would cost about $250,000. The work involved shared accessway, pedestrian connection, and levelling the carpark. Te Aute Rd would have to be raised near the hotel entrance. Mr Evans said the developer would also pay money to the council as part of the Rights of Way agreement and it would be used to offset costs.

The parking site had 51 spaces but it had not been well used. There were 21 spaces available for lease but only seven leased. Council staff believed redeveloping the parking site, in conjunction with the hotel development, would increase its chances of being used more. "It is anticipated the proposed redevelopment will service to draw a greater amount of activity to the western end of Havelock North," Mr Evans said.

Cr Bradshaw argued the integration of the redeveloped carpark with the proposed hotel was a cost the council should charge for under development fees, which was for providing water, stormwater, sewer and roading services for the building.

"I am saying that if the primary purpose of redeveloping this carpark is to work in for the benefit of this (hotel) development, then it should be part of the development costs and not the park owner's cost, which is the council."

Cr Bradshaw was also worried there would be 12 fewer carpark spaces when the Te Aute Rd parking site was redeveloped.

The council said the developer would build 93 additional parking spaces in the underground basement of the building while the council retained the right to construct a further 39 spaces on a parking deck if warranted.

Work on the carpark will be subject to Lowmac achieving a resource consent, a process still under way.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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