Kaipara District councillors have voted in favour of the old Mangawhai fire station in Wood Street being demolished.
The council-owned building is unoccupied. The Mangawhai Fire Station has been in its new modern premises at 191 Molesworth Drive since late 2019.
An engineer who undertook an investigation of the old site found multiple areas of concern including leaking, significant structural damage and rotting timber, as well as potential foundation issues. The building has very little natural light and has also been deemed earthquake prone.
Parts of the building are already closed due to non-compliance, and if the building was left in place the investigation found it would deteriorate further, creating a safety risk and health hazard for the community. It was not considered cost-effective to try and remediate the structure.
Once the building is demolished the site will be used as part of the interim design for the Wood Street revitalisation project, in place from December 2020 for 12-18 months. During this period, the cleared land will be used to create a temporary public space, which will also connect to other shared spaces on Wood Street.
Mangawhai Programme Delivery Manager Tim Manning says the approval to demolish the old fire station is a huge step forward for the Wood Street revitalisation project.
“This means we can continue on with our plans to make Wood Street a safe, vibrant and people-friendly space for the community. The fire station site is a critical part of the overall plan for the area. This will not only create more public space but it increases accessibility to other spaces.”
Using a ‘tactical urbanism’ approach, and with funding from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, the council has been designing the area with the Mangawhai Business Association and community and testing layout and design to create a more people-friendly Wood Street.
Early community meetings, a summer trial over 2019/2020, and subsequent multiple co-design workshops with the community have been held to establish a long-term vision through interim designs. The latest interim design will be in place and tested from December 2020 for 12-18 months.
§ The long-term vision (5-10 years) for Wood Street can be found at mangawhaicommunityplan.co.nz/projects/transport. This will be tweaked as part of the iterative design process for best results, depending on reviews of the interim design.