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Survey shows Wellingtonians Support Shelly Bay Development

More Wellington city residents overall feel that the development at Shelly Bay would be a good thing for the city, according to a ‘mood of the city’ survey conducted to coincide with the two-year mark since the Wellington City Council greenlit the development.

57% of Wellingtonian residents overall were in support while only 24% were against.

Developer Ian Cassels said he engaged independent agency Horizons Research Ltd to take the temperature of the city with regards to the joint Taranaki Whanui-Wellington Company development. The research company conducted a weighted panel survey of Wellingtonians, reflective of the breakdown of the city’s population and demographics.

“We’ve been at this battle for two years now, having faced two court cases, two rounds of resource consent decisions, three council decisions and an unbelievable amount of opposition from the same groups and individuals over and over again,” Cassels said.

“But when all is said and done, does the everyday Wellingtonian think what we are doing is a good idea or not? Once we build the development, will they use it or not?”

Cassels said he was heartened by the responses, describing the survey as the first of many engagements to come with the Wellington public.

“It’s easy to think that just because there is a high profile person opposing the development, or a well-resourced group taking us to court, that that is how the rest of the city feels too.”

“This is a quick snapshot of this point in time, and how people feel right now. Once resource consent is confirmed, there will be more points at which Wellingtonians can start to engage with the development in a detailed manner.”

93% of Wellingtonians said they would be prepared to visit the development, giving Shelly Bay the potential to become a ‘destination’.

Survey respondents were asked what they were most likely to do at Shelly Bay after the development is built. The highest-rated single activity was going to a cafe or restaurant.

Wellingtonians also wanted to partake in outdoor activities available such as fishing (10%), walking (48%), cycling (14%), and using the recreational space (44%).

Cassels said buying property at only 7% was to be expected. ‘It’s never been a secret that all the homes are going to be above the $800,000 mark, so yes, it’s understandable that that is not the first thing people want to do’

According to the survey, Wellingtonians most interested in buying property after the development is built currently live in the affluent Lambton and Southern Wards of the city. Cassels also said that many of his high end properties in places like Erskine College have seen demand from out-of-towners moving to Wellington for its lifestyle factors.

“But, regardless of who buys the properties, we have engaged a scheme with the Wellington City Mission in which roughly $3.5 million from home sales at Shelly Bay will go directly to the city’s most vulnerable so there is definitely a social aspect to that.”

Cassels said much of the public opposition to the development came from the sheer amount of misinformation in the public domain, particularly through social media.

“People seem to think that we are building on public land, or that we are building a hugely intensified development or that the ratepayer is funding the development - all of which is incorrect. It’s a hugely emotive issue and one Wellingtonians will see we are working hard to set the record straight on.”

Cassels said that over the coming weeks, Wellingtonians will be seeing more opportunities to contribute to the detail around Shelly Bay, as well as special features and initiatives for the development to be one that Wellingtonians can be truly proud of.

"There are some exciting new things we have held off announcing, but all I can say is we are hearing what Wellington is saying and we want everyone to watch this space."

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