A period of transformative development for Invercargill

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Invercargill Central project manager Geoff Cotton on the balcony of the City Block restaurants overlooking Esk Street.

Robyn Edie

Invercargill Central project manager Geoff Cotton on the balcony of the City Block restaurants overlooking Esk Street.

EDITORIAL: Invercargill has a new sense of vigour.

A host of ambitious projects have sprung from the streets of the city, as the skeletal frameworks of the major construction works for the gigantic City Block development and the nearby Langlands Hotel near completion.

The Southern Institute of Technology’s new Creative Industries Center in and around the former St John’s Anglican Church is open to music and screen arts students.

Smaller projects, but with deep meaning for the community, – the Southland Charitable Hospital launched by the family and supporters of the late Blair Vining and the Hawthorndale Care Village which will introduce a new model of dementia care – have each demonstrated patterns of purposeful volunteerism in harmony with business and professional discipline.

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A 600 Te Puawai housing development on a 70 hectare block east of Invercargill on Tramway/Rockdale roads has cleared the hurdle of a district plan change and now an infrastructure master plan is to be submitted to Invercargill City Council. A 31-lot, 30-ha residential development next to Invercargill Golf Course, planned by DCL Properties, is facing resistance from neighboring Invercargill Airport and will be commissioned by an independent auditor.

It’s hard to credit but the 80-room ILT Langlands Hotel, designed to allow for the addition of a further 40 rooms, now faces a declared competitor, Invercargill-based Geoff Thomson, owner of the national chain Distinction Hotels, having purchased the Menzies building. and announced plans to turn it into a 150-room hotel.

Companies with high national profiles continue to appear – next in line is the Bunnings Trade Center soon to open on the corner of Victoria Avenue and Bill Richardson Drive, to cater to construction industry professionals .

Collectively, this equates to a high-stakes, high-activity time for the city, and while it has its daunting side, the sheer number of projects approaching the finish line makes it a time that will go down in civic history. of Invercargill as one of extraordinary growth momentum.

The people behind these projects include hard-headed professionals and people with sincere ambitions for social betterment and development.

Many of them are not averse to commercial profitability, but there is also a key element of elected officials, community members and charitable trusts who see their role, rightly, as improving the city ​​as a place of life.

These ambitions of private and community companies can honorably converge.

Invercargill is a town where this was long overdue, particularly at a time when the south represented a shrinking proportion of the national population.

Our need to attract more people and retain more of our own remains one of the key imperatives of our times.

For a long time, citizens and visitors to Invercargill had little reason to look up other than to check the state of our skies, or perhaps frown at the state of too many our old abandoned downtown buildings.

Now we are becoming a city with a more confident aerial landscape. A city all the higher and prouder

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