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Call for Council to revisit hasty decision

20 October 2005

South Coast activists call for Council to revisit hasty decision.

A group of activists belonging to a wide range of southern Wellington environmental and community groups is following the lead of the city-wide Federation of Wellington Progressive and Residents Associations in asking that Wellington City Council revisit its recent hasty decisions to sell two sections and demolish a large commercial building at the former quarry carpark at the end of Owhiro Bay Parade.

The action will commence with open days on a private section at the entrance to the carpark on Labour Day, Monday 24th October and on Sunday 30th October. Members will be available from midday to 4 p.m. on each day to provide information to the passing public. One group, the South Coast Gateway Charitable Trust, will launch a new publication - “A visitor’s guide to Wellington’s south coast” - at 2 p.m. on the 24th.

The action is in opposition to a hasty Council decision to accept a report which was tabled on September 19 2005 and to vote it through three days later (September 22) in a meeting of the Strategy and Policy Committee.

hat sudden action broke a compact with the public to consider and discuss the recommendations of the Council officers, which should (but did not) reflect the public consultation. Opposition is then against the process, against the sale of the sections, and against the demolition of the buildings. When asked for opinions last year, the local community was opposed to Council selling the two vacant sections.

These are needed if the carpark and picnic area are to be adequate for the considerable use already evident. Ideas on use of the building have covered a wide range, including a rest area, toilets, cafe, information and visitor centre, and artist in residence.

Discussions since have shown the value for education and for community groups of all sorts of an information centre. And the building is big enough to allow many users to share the building. For example, a visitor centre would include space for the proposed artist in residence, for the band “Strike” currently practicing in the building, for a cafe with public toilets and leisure space and for bicycle rental.

That cooperation is easy and the group is angry that such cooperation has not been fostered by Council. The choice seems to be between:
selling sections or

* keeping the whole area for public use. Between:
* demolishing an existing building to construct a new kiosk (spending around $300,000 and providing a small and inadequate $200,000 building) or
* repairing the existing building for $400,000 to $500,000 and providing a large multi-purpose building which would cost $1,200,000 - $1,800,000 to build. Which is better value for money?

ENDS

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