Weekly clean for Bank St

By Alexandra Newlove

2 comments
SPRUCE UP: Tracey Willms Deane is part of a Bank St beautification group that has successfully lobbied for a weekly clean of the thoroughfare. PHOTO/JOHN STONE
SPRUCE UP: Tracey Willms Deane is part of a Bank St beautification group that has successfully lobbied for a weekly clean of the thoroughfare. PHOTO/JOHN STONE

Business owners on Whangarei's Bank St who are tired of cleaning up the vomit and urine left by CBD revellers have successfully lobbied for a weekly clean of the strip.

The Monday morning high-pressure wash by Whangarei District Council is among the first changes brought about by a community group that has taken on sprucing up the main street, with improved parking signage and beautification to come.

Bank Street Revitalisation Group co-founder Tracey Willms Deane said the fact that Bank St attracted night life was "awesome".

"But it does mean the shop owners are having to clean up urine and vomit on a Monday morning," she said.

The group saw Bank St as prime for a makeover as one of Whangarei's main arterial routes, which they saw as being generally unappealing with poor signage, a dilapidated bus terminal and "cruddy" pavements.

The group has been allocated $20,000 under WDC's Long-Term Plan to carry out improvements to the street.

Ms Willms Deane said they were still deciding how to spend the money, with possibilities including hanging baskets, street furniture, or a contribution to a larger project like an improved footpath surface.

A Tuesday night meeting attended by business owners, councillors and WDC staff saw a presentation from Heritage NZ detailing how the street had formed from a volcanic lahar before becoming a Maori pa site, the site of Whangarei's first church and the city's main financial thoroughfare.

The group was considering heritage-trail style signage.

"Let's take those stories and implant them," Ms Willms Deane said. "They're fascinating stories the local people would love, and it would become a tourist attraction."

WDC senior strategic planner Tony Horton said separate to the $20,000 under the LTP, the council would be installing a new rubbish and recycling bin on Bank St.

The council will also be putting up new signs for the carpark to the rear of St Andrews Church.

Northland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Tony Collins said the next step would be to also form a CBD advisory group covering the interests of the whole area.

"So we don't have one part of the CBD fighting with another part, fighting for resources," he said.

"Council want to work with local businesses - this is reflecting that it's not all up to the council. The landlords and business owners are going to have to do their part as well."

- Northern Advocate

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