Building code changes, as a result of the Christchurch earthquakes, have seen the removal of many buildings in townships around the country that were dangerous and no longer fit for purpose. This has given Councils, such as Grey District Council (GDC), the opportunity to reinvent these spaces and create fun, active, community spaces and instill confidence into local businesses. Using a $1M grant from Development West Coast and funds put aside by Council for CBD renewal projects, GDC has transformed - with help from WSP Opus Landscape Architect’s and Firth’s PaveWare® range - the river end of Tainui Street from a vehicle-dominated road into a pedestrian-focussed, shared street and town square of which the locals can be proud.

In 2014 Stage 1 (the inception and analysis) of the Greymouth / Mawhera CBD Renewal Project got underway. “This stage provided the urban design framework for the long term vision for the CBD. With strong community input it established a clear vision for the wider town centre,” says Wayne Rimmer, Principal Landscape Architect from WSP Opus.

Wayne says that Stage 2 then developed the CBD Masterplan, refining the key findings and the community’s vision in more detail and helped identify the Tainui Street/Town Square project as the ideal opportunity to show case what a successful redevelopment of a streetscape would look like.

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn is delighted with the town centre upgrade.

The Mawhera Incorporation’s support of the Urban Design Framework’s (UDF) vision resulted in their early commitment to have one of the buildings demolished. The removal of this building allowed a space on Mawhera owned land to be made available for the town square as per the UDF. The Mawhera Incorporation lease the land for a peppercorn long term agreement to GDC. This agreement embodies the shared and collaborative vision the two key stakeholders have for the future of Greymouth’s CBD.

While design decisions were being made on how to proceed, Councillors laid grass in the vacant space and filled it with picnic tables. Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said at the time that renewing the town centre was rated as the highest priority project in public consultation by the community.

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Before …

… and after.                                                                                                                        Image courtesy of WSP Opus

“When specifying products for use in the town centre we relied on over 20 years of working with Firth and using their products on a variety of successful projects from small residential to large local authority streetscape projects,” says Wayne. 

“The reason we work with Firth is that they have an extensive range with variety and colour, with good tones, different textures, availability... and they are durable.”


“We have worked with and relied on help from Paul Cumberland from Firth for many years,” says Wayne. “Paul arranged a display of pavers at Firth Christchurch to show us the various colours, sizes and finishes. This helped us to narrow the selection down and finalise what was forwarded to GDC for a final decision. Paul was really outstanding in his support throughout this project – especially during the initial phases of fine-tuning the design and patterns.”

With expert laying by Josh Hastie and the Trademark paving team Wayne says that the change in surfacing from an old, tired street with a range of materials, levels and drainage issues to this new streetscape is transformational and provides an important insight into how the CBD Masterplan, and community’s vision, can be realised.  

The objective of the GDC to create a central place for organised community events and where people can eat, drink coffee, hang out and frequent the various businesses has paid off with the upgraded Greymouth town centre creating quite a buzz with locals and visitors alike.

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Principal:                            Grey District Council

Funders:                             Development West Coast and Grey District Council

Landscape Architect:        WSP Opus, Christchurch  

Paving Contractor:            Trademark Paving

Location:                             Greymouth town centre

Product:                              Firth PaveWare®:

                                             80mm Holland Blacksands & Titanium - Hammered & Honed

                                             80mm Holland Sets Blacksands - Hammered & Honed

                                             80mm Piazza Blacksands  - Hammered

                                             80mm Piazza Titanium - Honed

                                             80mm Piazza Graphite - Hammered                   



Image courtesy of WSP Opus