Wishful thinking for old gasworks site

Difficult situation but someone has the right idea.

Difficult situation but someone has the right idea.

Picture by Liam Clayton

SOMEONE put this sign on the former gasworks site this week, sparking renewed interest in the 1.42-hectare spot in the middle of town.

The vacant land, at the river end of Grey and Derby streets is owned by Mitre 10 Holdings and is on the market.

Gisborne District Council is the owner of the adjacent road reserve and the site was discussed at the July environmental planning and regulations committee meeting.

The area is contaminated from hydrocarbons migrating through the soil.

At the meeting, GDC shared sciences manager Lois Easton said the situation was “a difficult one”.

Responsibility for the gasworks lay with the owner. Some remediation had been done but the council had always owned the road reserve, and it was difficult to argue that the owner should pay for degradation of the road reserve.

Previous owners of the site got consent for commercial use including fully-sealed car parking,

Mitre 10 originally bought the bare land to use for a megastore. Plans were shelved after Bunnings opened in 2009.

The site has remained undeveloped and sometimes overgrown, although part of it has at times been used for parking.

Council staff explored the option of buying the riverfront strip between Grey and Derby streets as part of its proposal to extend the riverside walkway, but rejected the price as too high.

In February, councillors agreed with Mayor Meng Foon’s suggestion that staff look into the possibility of buying the entire site.

They discussed the resulting report in a public-excluded part of their April meeting and asked council chief executive Judy Campbell to further “explore ways of maximising the gasworks site for the benefit of the community”.

The site is divided into a number of lots, with a combined rating valuation of more than $2 million.

SOMEONE put this sign on the former gasworks site this week, sparking renewed interest in the 1.42-hectare spot in the middle of town.

The vacant land, at the river end of Grey and Derby streets is owned by Mitre 10 Holdings and is on the market.

Gisborne District Council is the owner of the adjacent road reserve and the site was discussed at the July environmental planning and regulations committee meeting.

The area is contaminated from hydrocarbons migrating through the soil.

At the meeting, GDC shared sciences manager Lois Easton said the situation was “a difficult one”.

Responsibility for the gasworks lay with the owner. Some remediation had been done but the council had always owned the road reserve, and it was difficult to argue that the owner should pay for degradation of the road reserve.

Previous owners of the site got consent for commercial use including fully-sealed car parking,

Mitre 10 originally bought the bare land to use for a megastore. Plans were shelved after Bunnings opened in 2009.

The site has remained undeveloped and sometimes overgrown, although part of it has at times been used for parking.

Council staff explored the option of buying the riverfront strip between Grey and Derby streets as part of its proposal to extend the riverside walkway, but rejected the price as too high.

In February, councillors agreed with Mayor Meng Foon’s suggestion that staff look into the possibility of buying the entire site.

They discussed the resulting report in a public-excluded part of their April meeting and asked council chief executive Judy Campbell to further “explore ways of maximising the gasworks site for the benefit of the community”.

The site is divided into a number of lots, with a combined rating valuation of more than $2 million.

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