Nelson mayor Rachel Reese wants to “test residents’ thoughts” on converting one of our inner-city carparks into a large urban greenspace.
The idea comes after Nelson City Council last month mooted the idea of a multi-level carpark being built elsewhere in the city and the need to encourage more inner-city living.
“I have a real interest in increasing greenspace and playground space within the CBD and the city development team have picked this up as a priority,” says Rachel. “I could see a Buxton Square conversion working. Other people have suggested converting the middle of Trafalgar St. But I’m more interested in the public’s ideas and getting the community on-board.”
She questions whether our inner-city car-parks, including Buxton, Montgomery and Wakatu, are making the best use of “flat and sunny” land in the CBD.
“It is scarce in the city, and I’d rather we made it for people, rather than for single-level car occupancy.”
CBD greenspaces have many benefits – as seen in many cities around the world.
They can feature play spaces, water features, grassy areas and tracks.
“Greenspaces are great for the mind and the body. They provide stress reduction, an opportunity to exercise and a place to interact and meet people,” says Rachel.
They are also good for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
“Well-designed greenspaces are becoming increasingly important in responding to climate change impacts such as managing storm water, increased intensity rainfall events and water filtration,” she adds.
Nelson City Council has been shunned in the past when $1.5 million plans to develop Montgomery Square into a pocket park in 2011 were ruled out by the high court after legal action was sought by a group of Nelson business owners.
Lack of public consultation was blamed as the key factor for its failure.
But Rachel says if we want to encourage more inner-city living, greenspaces are needed.
“It’s time to start floating out some bigger ideas. Let’s think about what’s possible.”