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Playground ‘lead option’ for nearly $3m bus depot land

Nelson City Council has purchased the bus depot on Bridge St with a view to turning it into a playground or housing.

MARTIN DE RUYTER/STUFF

Nelson City Council has purchased the bus depot on Bridge St with a view to turning it into a playground or housing.

The council has purchased the Nelson Bus Station with the site being earmarked for either a playground or housing.

The bus depot on Bridge St was purchased by the council for $2,925,000, a price the council said was determined by market value, with the ownership date taking effect next July.

Buses will still run from the depot site until an alternative is found.

In a statement from the Nelson City Council strategic property and development subcommittee chairwoman councillor Gaile Noonan said it was the ideal time to make the purchase as it fit with so many of the council’s goals for the city centre.

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“When it comes to creating a city where people come first, that spot on Bridge Street is prime Nelson real estate. What we build there is still to be decided, but a city centre playground is the lead option.”

The council said the site could also be used for central city housing. Options included on-selling the site to a housing provider, partnering with others, or packaging it with design and consents already approved.

Concept images of Bridge St including aspects from the council's spatial plan and potential Kainga Ora housing projects.

Nelson City Council/Supplied

Concept images of Bridge St including aspects from the council’s spatial plan and potential Kainga Ora housing projects.

While the land was not large enough for both housing and a playground, it could accommodate a smaller park or open space as well as housing, the council said.

Budget for a central playground was included in the 2021-31 Long Term Plan. A total of $220,000 was available for the design and delivery of play areas in the 2022/23 financial year, and there was $1,124m in Years 4 and 5 of the Long Term Plan 2021-31 set aside for building the playground.

Elected members agreed to the proposal to purchase the site from SBL Group in May. Following a period of due diligence, the sale and purchase agreement had become unconditional, the council statement said.

Concept images from the final draft of the Nelson City Council's Spatial Plan.

Nelson City Council/Nelson Mail

Concept images from the final draft of the Nelson City Council’s Spatial Plan.

It said the site was well-placed for the people who would move into Kāinga Ora’s proposed new affordable and social housing in Wakatū Square should it go ahead, and families walking and cycling through the Bridge Street Active Transport Corridor.

Council plans to revitalise the city include a Nelson City Centre Spatial Plan – Te Ara ō Whakatū which focuses on eight key points including streets for people, great places, greener streets and linked up laneways.

A linear park proposed for Nelson’s city centre, along Bridge St from Rutherford St to Queens Gardens, made it to the final negotiations stage of the Government’s Infrastructure Acceleration Fund in May, with just the dollar amount and due diligence left to be determined.

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese told Stuff recently she was looking forward to seeing Nelson’s city centre transformed in the years to come.

“If there’s one action that encapsulates the ethos of the plan, it’s the linear park proposal for Bridge St – an idea that combines urban greening, room for safe access to sustainable transport, a front-yard for new city centre residents, and an innovative space for people to socialise and relax.”

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