New playground among options for Nelson's bus depot

9:27 pm on 6 August 2022

Nelson city's bus depot could become an inner city playground after the council purchased the land for $2.9 million from the region's primary transport provider.

The Nelson Bus station on Bridge St which is set to become an inner city playground or a housing development after it was bought by the Nelson City Council for $2.9m.

The Nelson bus station on Bridge Street, which is set to become an inner city playground or a housing development after it was bought by the Nelson City Council for $2.9m. Photo: RNZ / Samantha Gee

Nelson City Council bought the 1500sqm site on Bridge Street after elected members agreed to the proposal to purchase the site from SBL Group.

Council's strategic property and development subcommittee chair Gaile Noonan said an inner city playground was the preferred option for the site, but a housing development would also be considered.

"When it comes to creating a city where people come first, that spot on Bridge Street is prime Nelson real estate."

The site is just around the corner from council-owned properties in Achilles Ave and Rutherford St that the council is considering selling to Kainga Ora to develop for social and affordable housing.

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The properties on Achilles Ave, which could be developed into social and affordable housing by Kāinga Ora. Photo: RNZ / Samantha Gee

The city's current playground - the Riverside Youth Pop-up Park - opened next to the Elma Turner Library in 2020 and Noonan said it was well-used by the community.

But that land was currently leased, not owned by council which meant the park wouldn't be there forever.

Noonan said the bus depot site was a great opportunity to future-proof a central city playground that would help to make the city a more attractive place for people to live.

"We need things [in the city] for families and young people."

The council has budgeted $220,000 for the design and delivery of a city centre playground and more than $1.1m to build it, in the 2021-31 Long Term Plan.

But Noonan said the site could also be used for city centre housing, another of council's key priorities.

Options included selling the site to a housing provider, partnering with others, or packaging it with design and consents already approved.

She said the purchase fitted with many of the council's goals for the city centre as the site was at the centre of the Bridge Street Active Transport Corridor, proposed in Te Ara ō Whakatū - Nelson's City Centre Spatial Plan.

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The area around Bridge Street currently. Photo: RNZ / Samantha Gee

It would not be large enough to accommodate a city playground and a housing development, but could include a smaller park or open space as part of a residential development.

Council staff will provide elected members with a report on the future uses of the site and a decision will be made after local elections have taken place.

Buses will continue run from the site until SBL group find an another location.

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