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Bigger, brighter Carterton

Carterton’s main street. PHOTO/FILE


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An anticipated population boom is one of the factors pushing Carterton District Council into examining whether the town’s High St could better serve future needs through a more modern, expansive look.

The design guidelines that have dictated a retail centre lined with verandahs and parapets could be overhauled, with an ongoing Carterton District Council review underway.

At the same time, council staff are looking at the likelihood of growing the town towards the east to accommodate a projected population growth of up to 40 per cent between 2013 and 2043.

The priority, though, is the revamp of the main street, with earthquake strengthening remediation work for buildings already set to a 2021 deadline.

Council planning and regulatory manager, Dave Gittings, said the central business district (CBD) process took priority over the urban growth plan.

At least six business owners were considering rebuilds, he said.

That was a big number for a small CBD and would open a lot of possibilities.

“It’s a good opportunity to revise or to have look at those design guidelines so if somebody did want to rebuild they would have a few more options.”

Mr Gittings said he wanted the see the guidelines become less restrictive.

Carterton Mayor John Booth was also keen to relax the guidelines to give people more options and attract more businesses into the CBD.

Carterton was due for a revamp, and with some buildings needing earthquake strengthening work and other shops empty, it was a good time to futureproof the central hub.

“What a great opportunity to look at something quite different.”

Allowing shops to set themselves back from the road had been discussed in council meetings, as something that might tempt the passing traffic on State Highway 2 to stop.

Mr Booth said existing parapets and verandahs could be enhanced.

“They are a unique feature, they are kind of like old New Zealand.”

Carterton had always had a different feel to other towns in Wairarapa, he said.

“Carterton has always been a very solid, little rural servicing centre.”

A “great example” of striking the right balance between old and new was the Carterton Events Centre, he said.

“The library is the oldest working library in New Zealand,” he said.

“It’s rather special to be able to retain those original features.”

Adding to that sense of history was the Carterton Courthouse, thanks to the work of the Carterton Community Courthouse Trust.

“I have total admiration for that group, they have done a great job,” Mr Booth said.

At the same time, the urban growth strategy is now open for public consultation.

The council was hoping to win approval from the community to start planning what development could look like on the eastern side of town.

The current population of the Carterton is about 8900 but that was set to expand.

Moderate projections by Statistics New Zealand show a 20 per cent increase of 1710 people between 2013 and 2043.

But under the high projections, the district would have to make room for 3360 people — a 40 per cent increase between 2013 and 2043.

An urban growth strategy report recommended that the council planned for the high growth scenario.

Mr Gittings said heading east was the option that made the most sense when planning for development, and it had proven popular in early workshops with people who were directly affected.

“It seems to be the most logical choice.”

If the urban sprawl stretched north or south, the township would have an even more elongated profile than at present.

“If you go south, you have to pump all your waste uphill into the wastewater plant — that’s an ongoing operational cost, that makes it expensive.”

Turning development west, was also likely to up the cost, as “it was prone to wet ground” which could be built on but at cost.

He said they were turning to the community to set the direction, and then would provide costed design options for public consideration.


  1. Its time to build a bypass, Carterton will function better for locals and visitors alike if state highway 2 doesn’t run through the main street.

  2. How about adding another interesting alleyway like that one that leads to Bar 52? Tourists love discovering new things they didn’t know where there! The spaces behind the shops could be much more interesting than boring old car parks that don’t seem to be used that much…

  3. A more modern look for the retail part of High Street, Carterton would be great. Meanwhile what has happened in High Street South to mean that the newly worked on road is being repeatedly dug up and water turned off. Did someone make a blue? It must be costing a fortune!

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