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Waitakere City Council yesterday agreed to a detailed investigation into a Chinatown precinct for New Lynn as part of its development planning currently underway in the town centre.
The council did, however, stop short of recommending Totara Ave as its preferred location for the Chinatown development, not wanting to commit itself without first investigating the feasibility of other potential sites within the town centre.
The council also agreed to investigate the acquisition of ornamental Chinese gates and other related amenities with its Chinese sister city of Ningbo and other parties. The budget for their provision and installation will be considered next year as part of the Long Term Council Community Plan and Annual Plan process.
In October this year, Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey outlined to councillors a proposal to redevelop part of Totara Avenue as a Chinatown precinct, reflective of traditional and modern china. The mayor’s vision is to build on the new state-of-the-art public transport hub being created in New Lynn and the town’s emerging new migrant culture, to create an attractive new retail area that will make good business sense and act as an activity magnet.
Mayor Harvey says the New Lynn Chinatown would have a region-wide reach for custom and an international reputation for its food, business, cultural events, bustle and quality of presentation. It would also be a dramatic point of difference, distinguishing New Lynn from other town centres in the region and Waitakere from other cities in New Zealand.
“It is an exciting idea – and it’s an idea that stacks up in cities like Melbourne, London, Seattle and Sydney,” Mayor Harvey says.
“It’s not about social or cultural engineering. It’s about tourism and marketing. It’s about New Lynn as a thriving, buzzing town centre. It’s about food, festivals and fun.”
The council envisages that the New Lynn Chinatown would become a focal point for Asian cultural events, such as the Chinese New Year and Moon festivals, and for visiting exhibitions of artistic and cultural significance. It could be expected to attract film, museum and educational enterprises to complement gastronomic excellence and a mix of retail activity.