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By DAVID HILL

The time is right to rethink planning for Rangiora’s central shopping hub, Waimakariri Mayor David Ayers says.

The shopping area is the largest in the district.

There is plenty to consider, Mr Ayers says.

The last Rangiora town centre review was in 2010.

“Having a plan was important as it gave us something to work towards following the earthquakes, and what we were planning then, to a large extent, has been implemented,” Mr Ayers says.

“So now we are ready to have another look at the plan and there will be plenty of opportunity for people across our district to give feedback.”

The Rangiora town centre is defined as the area between Church Street and East Belt, and Queen Street to Blackett Street, but one of the questions will be whether that area needs to expanded or modified to cater for growth.

While Rangiora’s population has passed 18,000, Mr Ayers says the shopping centre, centred around High Street, caters to a large catchment area, serving as many as 40,000 to 50,000 shoppers. That number is expected to grow over the next 10 years.

“We will have to take notice of other retail opportunities that emerge in the district, like Ravenswood.”

Shopping habits are also changing, with online shopping and people eating out more.

The Rangiora town centre review will create a strategy or vision for the next 10 years and will feed into the District Plan Review.

Formal public consultation is likely to be held early next year.

The council is setting a stakeholder reference group comprising representatives of the community board, residents and business groups, local developers and other interested parties to offer feedback as staff work on the strategy.

Meanwhile, work is progressing on upgrading the former Reid’s Super Cheap Auto building, with a new tenant lined up, building owner Warwick Leech says.

The well-recognised parapet, comprising 40 tonnes of concrete, was taken down last year.

“It was quite a big job and expensive, but it was the right thing to do,” Mr Leech says.

“We have replaced concrete with a timber frame and plywood, so the safety rating has increased.”

Work is progressing for a new Burger King and retail space on the former Red Lion Hotel site, while site owner Christchurch Property Projects awaits word on its application for a replacement resource consent to build upstairs apartments instead of office space.

Waimakariri District Council regulation manager Nick Harrison says the new consent is likely to be issued soon.

Rangiora Eyecare is due to move into its new building on May 6.

There has been some activity on the vacant site next to BNZ, with the corner site being occupied by a contractor working on a project for Rangiora New World.

North Canterbury News understands the council plans to put the site out for tender for development later this year.

Progress .. Work is progressing on the new Burger King and retail space on the former Red Lion Hotel site.
Empty site .. The vacant corner site beside the BNZ Bank is expected to be put out for tender for development this year.