14 Oct 2010

New Whangarei mayor welcomes developers back

9:32 pm on 14 October 2010

Whangarei's new mayor, Morris Cutforth, says he's issuing a fresh invitation to Auckland developers who, he claims, were blocked by the previous mayor from revitalising the city centre.

Auckland's Neil Group owns a number of properties between the city mall and the Whangarei marina, known as the Town Basin.

Mr Cutforth says the company had hoped to build a development linking the two areas - something he says Whangarei badly needs - "but the last mayor was not a fan of what they were proposing to do."

He says the company vowed not to go back to Whangarei because, in their view, it was "such an awful place to do business in".

If the Neil Group is still keen on its downtown project, Mr Cutforth says, previous mayor Stan Semenoff's plan to sell the Whangarei Old Boys' Rugby Club grounds to a local developer for a retail mall will not go ahead.

More information sought on sewerage

Mr Cutforth also says that, while he is pleasantly surprised at how much work has been done to stop sewage spills, he wants more information on the subject.

Harbour pollution was a major issue in the recent council election.

Mr Cutforth has spent a day talking to council staff in order to find out what is being done to fix the city's sewerage problems.

He says he wants to hear the views of harbour lobby groups and possibly the regional council on the issue.