Talk of the CityTown - Issue 1

Latest News & Media Releases

Published: 21 Jun 2023


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Welcome to Talk of the CityTown, a monthly update about what’s happening on the street as we begin to put what we’ve learned through the programme into practice.

We’re sending this to everyone who has signed up for updates so far, but please to forward it to everyone you know to help us get the word out.

Where are things at with the Programme?

The initial stages to the programme, where we did a lot of work in finding out what makes Timaru tick, explored options to improve pedestrian and cycle access and encouraged people to play and explore their city, is coming to a close and it’s time to see all that work put into action.

There are now a few work strands running parallel to each other, where we’ll begin to see the things happening.

Our design consultants Isthmus are currently collating all the information learned through the trials and combining it with with high level guidance in the CityTown Strategic Framework as well as the best in national and international practice. This will help them put together a masterplan that will guide future council developments and give our private sector partners a playbook for effective future investments.

We’ll be testing some of the options with stakeholders over the next few months, so keep an eye out for details here and on the CityTown website.

Orange ans white image of Stafford Street

While this is happening behind the scenes we’re not sitting still. Based on community and stakeholder feedback the Council team are currently working on a number of enhancement projects they can get underway with over the next couple of months.

We’ve got details of the first project below, and we’ll unveil the rest through this newsletter as soon as they are ready!

Council staff are also working with infrastructure and utility partners to coordinate upgrades to infrastructure in the CBD, ensuring we have the capacity to meet demand, while taking the most efficient approaches and causing the least disruption possible.

In the private realm we've tasked our local Economic Development Agency, Venture Timaru, to unlock opportunities with the private sector. Initially this will see a focus on identifying and working to minimise barriers to investment and development. Their ultimate aim is to inspire and excite the private sector to have the confidence to invest in our city.


One of the first enhancements we’re seeing as part of the project is the replanting of all the garden beds along Stafford Street from the Bay Hill to North Street.

There is going to be a variety of different plantings along the street, with a mixture of colourful plants and evergreens that will offer something to appreciate all year round.

As well as this they are looking at options for greening up some of the concrete spaces in town, but we’ll be able to tell you more about this in future updates.

More Christmas Cheer Coming to Citytown

While mid-winter may be the centrepiece of Christmas for our Northern Hemisphere neighbours, our mind is on summer and planning how we can bring even more Christmas cheer to our City.

First thing is we’re currently in the process of purchasing a nine metre tall Christmas tree that will be situated on the Piazza, linking upper Stafford Street down to the bay and carnival.

To be mindful of reducing waste we’re ensuring that we purchase something robust, and quick to install that will last around 20 years, which ensure we can keep the annual running, maintenance and installation costs as low as possible.

The tree must meet rigorous quality and electrical safety requirements, so it’s not a matter of popping down to the store to grab the kind you have in the corner of your lounge, it has to be a lot more robust.

Not surprisingly comes with a far larger price tag than a standard tree, estimated at $130,000 including decorations, but it’s a long-term investment and should be a real focal point in the city.

With the new tree, the refurbished angels and lights and the star, Timaru will be one of the brightest spots in the country this Christmas.

What’s coming next?

In next month’s update we’ll have more details about what’s happening next with Stafford Street’s miles of tiles, and well as updates on some of the other exciting things we’ve got planned.


Last updated: 21 Jun 2023