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Opinion: Invercargill City Is Broken

May 25, 2019
6443 Views

I don’t normally comment on political issues but this decision by council to go into further consultation with the public about the inner city development has got me fired up!
This development is not a “nice to do” it simply has to be done!

Invercargill city is broken, many buildings are not even viable, many are, in fact, dangerous- regardless of what happens they will need to be destroyed! We have no heart to our city, no sense of place or community, a disjointed shell of a town thanks not only to previous councils’ decisions to spread out our major retailers but also current councils unfathomable decision to give consent to K Mart to build in and create yet another retail location.

Not only is the decaying and broken city center a bleak and de-motivating place for us locals, it’s affecting business, destination attraction and tourism and certainly making recruiting new talent to Invercargill more and more challenging. I talk from experience as a small business owner when I say that inviting prospects to a broken ghost town, simply isn’t attractive and is preventing business growth. We have our youth (including my children) gagging to get away, and this isn’t good enough. I’ll re-state it, it isn’t a nice to do, it simply needs done.

The view that the Richardson group are ‘the big boys taking over’ or ‘should just pay for it all’, couldn’t be a further push from reality. From what I can see they love Invercargill. Their motivation is to give back, they want their kids to want to come home to a vibrant and exciting town. I want my kids to come home! If you don’t think that they could get a better return for their money if they invested elsewhere (Queenstown, shares, overseas) you’ve got rocks in your head.

Their motivation clearly can’t be money! Like most of us they see the town they love broken, in a dangerous state of dis-repair and decaying and are generously supporting a town they call home, by offering to HELP fix it. It’s not their responsibility as some naysayers seem to think for them to fix it by themselves!

Why would the council decide to consult now when many tenants and retailers have already moved or shut down in anticipation of this exciting opportunity happening? Have those poor people potentially done this for nothing? Just get on with it! I believe this council has an amazing opportunity to set this city up for the future. Moreover, they have a duty of care to the city- if council aren’t brave enough to commit to this, we might as well hang up the closed for business sign at the entrance to Invercargill and the last to leave can turn out the lights.

Karl McDonald PGD Phty, BPhty, BPhEd
Managing Director
Sportsmed Southern Physiotherapy Ltd
Stags Physiotherapist. World Rugby Sevens Officials Physiotherapist

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