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Mary Varnham makes a bid for Waterfront Chair

Media Release February 25, 2002


Mary Varnham makes a bid for Chair of waterfront company


Waterfront campaigner and former city councillor Mary Varnham has applied to chair the Council’s waterfront company, Lambton Harbour Management Ltd.

Varnham, who founded the group Chaffers Park - Make It Happen! in 1997 and succeeded in having the 8-acre Chaffers site set aside for a park, said today that the council had proclaimed a new era on the waterfront.

‘They have said that the views of the public are now the prime consideration.

‘For this to be more than puffery, the Council must appoint a new chair of Lambton Harbour Management who:

- enjoys public confidence

- has a strong record of understanding and articulating Wellingtonians’ wishes for their waterfront, and

- is committed to working constructively with all parties to make real progress.’

Varnham said she was in a unique position for the role, having run a waterfront group which attracted huge public support, and having detailed inside knowledge of waterfront issues through having been a councillor for three years.

‘I’ll hit the ground running and that’s important after all the delays there have been.

‘There is a huge amount that can be achieved in a very short time if all parties work together in good faith. I am absolutely committed to that.’

Varnham, who ran second in last year’s mayoral race, said she had been astounded to read the departing chair, David Gascoigne, say it was ‘hard to find a significant body of people who agree on anything on the waterfront’.

‘My experience has been exactly the opposite. In the time I’ve been involved, I’ve been amazed at the huge degree of consensus that exists among Wellingtonians as to how the waterfront should be developed.

‘Survey after survey has shown support for green parks and public open space, sympathetic restoration of the heritage buildings, new low-rise buildings in places where they support public activities and do not block waterfront access and views, and recreational facilities for all ages. Other attractions such as the Chinese Garden have also been consistently supported by the public.’

‘As chair of Lambton Harbour Management, my job will be to help bring about this clearly articulated and long held vision of Wellingtonians.’


For further information:

Mary Varnham
Phone 385-8038 (home); 380-9703 (office), 025-341-471 (mobile), mary.varnham@xtra.co.nz

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