A new CBD health facility taking in Ashburton’s Sealy Street practice would need a drop-off area and short-term parking in front of its building in Tancred Street, and if it could not be fitted in to the redesign of the CBD, directors would have to look elsewhere.
The directors of Eastfield Health spoke to Ashburton Council as part of its submission process on its plans to revitalise the Ashburton central business district.
One of the directors, Graham Kennedy, said research showed there was one health professional for every 380 people in Ashburton, compared to a New Zealand average of 200 people.
Mr Kennedy said Eastfield Health and a Scenic Circle hotel would be the catalyst to bringing people back to the CBD.
He said both projects were very complex and involved an enormous amount of work.
Retail was already suffering severely in Ashburton, with gaps throughout the CBD, and these two Eastfield projects were “absolutely vital” to the regeneration of the CBD.
Mr Kennedy said that while the board was excited by the prospect of streetscape revitalisation, it was critical the streetscape supported the needs of the businesses.
If the health centre was to be successful it must have easy access, in particular for assisted patients, and ambulances.
If that could not be achieved the directors would have no option but to consider a different location.
Tony Dann, on behalf of the board, said there would also be emphasis on complementary health services, and it was hoped to have up to four doctors at the facility after it opened.
That would allow up to 96 appointments a day.
The council is working with transport consultant Jeanette Ward, of Abley, on the CBD project.
It will consider a range of issues – the request by Eastfield Health, servicing of businesses (including ease of truck access), landscaping issues (pavers etc) and “gateway” design – the design of entrances to areas.
Councillors received around 60 submissions on the staged CBD project, and nine in person, including that from Eastfield Health.
After hearing the submissions, councillors decided to limit speed in the revamped CBD to 30kmh, to have angle parks, one-way streets, Tancred and Burnett, a cycle lane on Cass Street, but there was no support for closing any part of East Street.
Councillors also suggested several quick-fix solutions for the CBD, including painting tables, repairing seats at the chessboard, outdoor exercise equipment, and acting chief executive officer, Jane Donaldson, is working with a company on screens to fill spaces for buildings awaiting construction.