Some Rotorua residents are warning our Tauranga neighbours to stay clear of plans to copy the Green Corridor concept, with one resident saying it was a "big, fat failure".
Tauranga City Council is looking at building two concepts similar to that in Rotorua - a walking/cycling path on Elizabeth St in Tauranga's central city and an "Eat Streat-style" dining area near the waterside for Wharf St.
Rotorua's The Salon owner Beverley Wheeler said although a Green Corridor-style concept could work elsewhere, it didn't for Rotorua.
"For Rotorua I believe the concept was yet another nail in our dying CBD."
She said in her opinion the corridor was a "big, fat failure".
"I can only comment on what I see and that is that no one uses the cycleway, they all ride on the footpath."
Rotorua Lakes Council is currently reviewing the functionality of the inner city transport network, including reviewing the ongoing need for the Green Corridor.
The Green Corridor was officially opened on October 8, 2015, however, the almost 2km pathway was plagued with controversy after 50 inner city car parks were removed for its installation.
Infrastructure group manager Stavros Michael said the council was given the go-ahead from elected members to conduct the review in May this year.
"At the time we indicated that the design for redevelopment of Amohau St (SH30A) needed to be finished before we started that work as it will impact on the wider CBD and we need to ensure our review aligns with the plan for that corridor," Michael said.
Businesses react to proposed removal of Green Corridor
"The design work for SH30A is still being completed but we have started planning for the review. It will be a comprehensive process that will include looking at how people and vehicles move around and use the CBD, a review of speed limits and consultation so it's not a quick process.
"I would expect that we will have some options to bring to council around February next year for them to consider to take out to public consultation."
Regarding Tauranga City Council proposing two projects already undertaken by Lakes Council, Michael said the solution for each town or city would be different.
"But we do face many of the same challenges and are always happy to share our experience."
However Wheeler suggests Tauranga councillors give some serious thought about where a walking and cycling path be built as "it could potentially have the opposite result to the CBD rejuvenation they are seeking".
In a meeting of Tauranga City Council's Projects, Services and Operations Committee on Tuesday, a proposal for one side of the CBD end of Elizabeth St turned into a park with a walking and cycling path, and a focal point around the $130 million Farmers redevelopment just scraped through.
Councillors voted 6-5 to move to the next phase of the $20.3m project: workshops with stakeholders.
Tauranga City Council's $4.9m plan to turn Wharf St into a pedestrianised "eat street" was also progressed at the meeting with staff to workshop detailed designs for the project ahead of another council meeting on August 27.
Rotorua's Brew Bar general manager Jonathan Maguire said the Eat Street concept was a great idea for any city.
"It's not just good for locals and local businesses, it's also good for tourists.
"You can go to some places in New Zealand and be quite confused about where to eat or what to do. The idea of a central hub where people know they can congregate is a great one.
What the mayoral candidates say
We asked Rotorua's three mayoral candidates if they would retain the Green Corridor or demolish it.
The Green Corridor in 2014 was a start to building a cycle network that is now connecting suburbs to our inner city. It was largely funded by NZTA and was a good start. We now have 26km of cycleway network and an increase in cycling of 36 per cent. We have acknowledged at full council that we need an inner city transport plan to look at connections, parking and traffic flow. This and the investment in the Lakefront and Amohau St roading gives us the across city link we need. I will await that plan and make a balanced decision. A new council should make those decisions. I believe the Green Corridor is no longer needed but want to ensure that on-road and off-road cycling and shared paths are planned and linked before any demolition. This is a part of a wider inner city plan that will include inner city housing. I have spoken on this already at forum.
One of my first priorities as mayor will be a proper study of issues surrounding the CBD's demise, public transport and parking, and what needs to be done. I have ideas, however this time the experts and ratepayers will be consulted, and listened to. I am sure the Green Corridor will go, replaced with the Lakefront route where the consultants (and I) said it should be in the first place.
Residents and Ratepayers see the so-called Green Corridor as a cynically misnamed disaster that gives serious environmentalism a bad name. It has helped undermine the economy of the CBD. We have long proposed a fresh regeneration project with many parts, including rerouting the CBD cycleway along the Lakefront to restore parking. Introduce decoration standards. Offer the first hour free to make parking competitive and to encourage turnover. Overhaul the look and safety of Tutanekai. Move the Homeless Shelter closer to reintegration opportunities. Change the rules on upstairs conversions to repopulate the CBD. Only a comprehensive plan will be effective.