Greymouth is angling for a share of the Labour-led government’s Provincial Growth Fund to help turn a multi-million-dollar development plan into a reality.
The West Coast town has struggled since the decline of the timber and coal industries – retail businesses have closed and a large proportion of towns in the CBD need earthquake strengthening.
Urban designers James Lunday, Karen Remetis and Zoë Avery have drawn up a plan, which is now available for public consultation, and has already gained the support of Grey District Council, the Greymouth Business Promotion Association (GBPA), Development West Coast and Māwhera Incorporation, the landowner.
Part of the plan involves dividing the town into ‘quarters’ such as an artisan quarter and a civic quarter, as well as planting more greenery, building townhouses and upgrading entrances.
"You don't do containers, you do huts,” said Lunday. “Greymouth is a lifestyle centre. It's an industrial port town. We need to celebrate the grittiness of the town. It has industrial solid buildings. But when you are in Greymouth you don't know you're on the West Coast, you need to bring that beautiful nature that is on your doorstep back into town by rewilding the CBD.”
Lunday is no stranger to regeneration projects – he previously worked for Regenerate Christchurch and developed a plan for Cathedral Square.
While he admitted the project would cost a lot of money, he also said that there was no “silver bullet.”
“You have to do it all. There is no point in improving the gateways if there's still nothing to do when you get into town.”
GPBA chairman Phillip Barnett was excited, but realistic, about the plans.
“It's like going to a restaurant without knowing how much you have to spend and you are presented with a lovely menu with all these fantastic options. You go through it all and decide what you want but then realise you only have $5 and can only afford the chips.”