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Mayor Seeks Middle Ground No Wall; No Paddock

MEDIA STATEMENT
Monday 7 February 2000

MAYOR SEEKS MIDDLE GROUND
NO WALL; NO PADDOCK

“The council I have been elected to lead will find the middle way between those who would build a wall and those who would leave the waterfront empty and lifeless,” Wellington Mayor Mark Blumsky said today.

Mr Blumsky was announcing his proposal to develop The People’s Waterfront Charter that would enshrine that the primary use of the Waterfront would always be quality recreational space for the People of Wellington to enjoy.

He said that while some of his councillors were extremely angry about misinformation that had caused fear and alarm over plans for the Waterfront, he accepted that many concerns were genuine and that his job as Mayor was to find a way forward.

Mr Blumsky said he was elected by an overwhelming majority of Wellingtonians to make the city vibrant and safe and would deliver on that with respect to the Waterfront.

“What makes the Waterfront vibrant is that it’s diverse. It belongs to every Wellingtonian and it’s for every Wellingtonian. It is where people go to eat, drink, play, learn, work and live. That combination is what brings people to the Waterfront and gives the area life.”

He said he would not allow “extreme views” to gain control of the Waterfront.

“I reject the notion that a wall ever be allowed to divide Wellingtonians from their harbour. Equally, I reject the view that we should turn the whole Waterfront into a paddock. And I reject the idea that we should do nothing – leaving the Chaffers area a wasteland rather than a park, or not make the carparks something more.”

Instead, Mr Blumsky said, The People’s Waterfront Charter would help define the balance of activities that Wellingtonians wanted on their Waterfront. His draft of the Charter contains ten principles for Wellingtonians to consider, debate and develop. The ten draft principles are:

 The Wellington Waterfront belongs to the People of Wellington, is treasured by them and is part of their heritage.

more …
 No land on the Waterfront shall be sold.
 The primary use of the Waterfront shall be quality recreational space for the People of Wellington to enjoy.
 A minimum of 70% of the Waterfront shall be open to the sky.
 The balance of land on the Waterfront shall be for the People of Wellington to enjoy a diverse range of activities, including eating, drinking, playing, learning, working and living.
 Future development of the Waterfront shall occur organically rather than as a single undertaking.
 Any leases shall be sensible.
 The People of Wellington shall control all future development of the Waterfront, through their democratically elected Council that shall have the power of approval or veto over all proposals to improve the Waterfront.
 Before approving any proposal to improve the Waterfront, the Council shall be satisfied that the design will enhance the visual integrity of the Waterfront.
 Before approving any proposal to improve the Waterfront, the Council shall be satisfied that significant cultural, social or public benefits to the City of Wellington have been clearly demonstrated.

Council officers have been instructed to develop a process and timetable to enable all Wellingtonians to be involved in writing the Charter.

Mr Blumksy also announced that he was asking the council to significantly extend the period for submissions on the current concept plan until 7 May. Officers would be instructed to review all the general issues that had been raised in recent weeks and rigorously research all the different shades of public opinion, in order to develop a new submission that reflects a concept plan that all reasonable Wellingtonians could support.

In reaching out to those concerned about the current concept plan, Mr Blumsky said it was not the time to shout at one another.

“Let’s be reasonable with one another. Let’s not get ourselves locked into extreme positions. Let’s just work constructively through the issues, identify the key concerns fairly and honestly and address them.”

Mr Blumsky will announce at 2 o’clock today whether he intends to stand for re-election in 2001.

END

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