A Whangarei city centre where all the main hubs are connected, and pedestrians and cyclists can move about easily is laid out in a new plan.
Connectivity is the theme of the Whangarei District Council's "City Centre Plan", which contains a host of projects, infrastructure and regulatory changes which will guide the development of downtown Whangarei over the next 30 years.
The plan acknowledges the city centre has vacant retail and office spaces and as a result less foot traffic, lack of vibrancy and a limited night time and weekend economy.
It also states part of the city centre are low quality and run down - all points that the plan aims to counter.
The council consulted with business and landowners in the city centre to create the plan, which also aims to attract more people to live and spend time in the central city.
There are 56 actions in the plan, which are divided into three time categories - short - in the next three years, medium - from 2022 to 2031 and long term - from 2032 onwards.
Some of the short-term ones include changing the traffic light phasing at Walton and Dent St intersection to prioritise pedestrians, the conversion of the Canopy Bridge car park to a park, the development of Pohe Island into a recreational area and making changes to the district plan to allow residential development in the city.
The exact schedule of work will be determined in each year's Annual Plan.
A pedestrian and cycle bridge from Cameron St to Okara Drive is planned for the medium term (from 2022-31), as is a railway underpass, similiar to the one in the Rust Ave carpark, from Water St carpark to the city core.
Other things, such as encouraging more events in the Laneway and Laurie Hall Park, more alfresco dining, and planting more street trees will be ongoing through the life of the plan.
Planning and development committee chairman Greg Innes said the focus on making the city centre more user friendly for pedestrians and cyclists is extremely important.
"I think it's important to have the city centre as a place where people can be entertained, where they can live, where they can work and where they can move around it safely, but also it needs to be a place that attracts people from outside Whangarei."
He said the plan is the first to pull together projects, regulations and infrastructure - recent plans have just looked at projects.
"This provides a complete overview of how development should take place."
Mr Innes said the plan also clearly shows investors how the city wants to develop and how they can fit in and help.
The draft 2018-28 Long Term Plan has $5.5 million set aside for implementation of the plan. In addition, Pohe Island has nearly $4.9 million and carpark to park has just over $5m allocated.