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Frank Kitts decision to be rammed through

Media release

18th December 2007

Frank Kitts decision to be rammed through

The decision to bypass the Wellington City Council’s Strategy and Policy Committee days before Christmas to finalise the controversial new design for Frank Kitts Park at the last meeting of the Council sends the wrong message to a public rightly cynical about the Council’s commitment to consultation,” said new Wellington City Councillor Iona Pannett.

“Generally, a paper goes to the Council’s Strategy and Policy Committee, which all Councillors are members of, this committee allows for extensive debate on controversial issues. Bypassing this process is a cynical attempt to push through a controversial project just before Christmas and is the oldest political trick in the book.

There are strong concerns to be raised about the financial viability of the project,” said Cr Pannett. “Wellington Waterfront has been told its share of the project will be $4.5-5.0m, whilst the Council has only budgeted $4m. Furthermore, the Chinese Garden Society has the ambitious target of $3.5-4.0m. Wellington Waterfront can only proceed with the project if the Hilton and Overseas Passenger Terminal developments get the green light. This is a far from certain outcome, said Cr Pannett.

Other concerns about the design for the Park that need to be examined at Strategy and Policy include the loss of the amphitheatre, the partial loss of the view shaft at Willeston Street and safety issues around the Chinese Garden.

“Furthermore, it is important that we make improvements to Wellington’s answer to the best of Soviet architecture – the much maligned Events Centre,” said Cr Pannett. Frank Kitts Park in spite of some limitations works well as a park already, it is important that work begins on the Event Centre project as soon as possible.

Cr Pannett will attempt to move an amendment to bring the issue back to the Strategy and Policy Committee in 2008 at the Council meeting tomorrow night.

Iona Pannett
Wellington City Councillor (Lambton Ward)

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