A Town Plan is being prepared to guide future government investments in central Avarua. From the 18th to the 22nd of March 2019 concept options were presented to various stakeholders including the House of Ariki, Te Aronga Mana of Te-au-o-tonga, civil society organisations, government agencies and the general public for feedback. These plans have been commissioned by the Cook Islands Investment Corporation and Infrastructure Cook Islands.
The Town Plan focuses on the Ara Maire Nui and foreshore area which runs between the Avatiu and Avarua wharves. The plan aims to mitigate current and potential issues concerning traffic movements, parking, pedestrian routes and cycle ways, taking into account the proposed government office complex at Vaikapuangi. The proposed Government office complex centralizes about 20 Ministries/Agencies in one location, in the area behind and including the MFEM building. This complex will bring an additional 300 government employees and at least 200 visitors into central Avarua each day.
The draft town plan is being drafted to take into account the feedback received during the March 2019 consultations. The draft will incorporate improvements to the road network, walking and cycling routes, and opportunities to improve the landscape, to shape the future of the constitution park, and to provide more green and recreational spaces along the foreshore for locals and visitors to enjoy.
The draft plan will be consulted on further in April before a final draft is presented to Government for approval.
Reset Urban Design, a New Zealand based consultancy firm specializing in urban design and landscape architecture, have been engaged to lead the Town Plan development. Reset Design have teamed up with Stantec New Zealand for traffic engineering and local architect Romani Katoa for local knowledge, culture and architecture.