Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Wellington City Council: Let’s Do It Again

Let’s Do It Again


By Lindsay Shelton,
SCOOP.Wellington

A new Manners Mall. “As part of our commitment to improving the city, the Council has completed the upgrade of Manners Mall and the surrounding area.” This was the announcement in February 2004 in the council’s “Rates News”. The upgrade – with design input from Athfield Architects and Wraight Landscape Architects - cost $1.6million and included flashing lights in the paving and powerpoints for buskers and street performers.


Click to enlarge

Manners Mall today

Less than five years later, the Wellington City Council doesn’t like its upgrade any more. The pedestrian Mall is out of favour. The Council thinks it should be put back to how it was: a two-lane road with traffic going in both directions. This would somehow strengthen the Golden Mile by reducing bus travel times.


Click to enlarge

Feedback has been sought. A booklet has been published. And the cost?

The cost, says the Council hopefully, could “potentially be funded over the next five years using money already budgeted for bus priority and urban redevelopment work.”

The Council, of course, has a record of changing its mind at the ratepayers’ expense.

The popular and well-used Frank Kitts Park, created on the waterfront in the 1980s, is to be redeveloped and rebuilt. The council has selected a design from Wraight and Associates, the people who helped to design the Manners Mall. (The practice was restructured and renamed in 2003.) The $4million cost will be met by the council-owned Wellington Waterfront company (which was kept afloat with $3.9million in “temporary additional funding” from the council last year.)


Click to enlarge

The slide at Wellington’s iconic Frank Kitts Park

The council’s pleasant Cobblestone Park on Vivian Street is also to be remade. Designed and built in the mid-70s in modernist English character style, it features well-developed trees and well-worn lawns in front of the striking red School of Architecture.


Click to enlarge

Cobblestone Park

The cost of remaking this little park is a million dollars. Again, the design is by Wraight and Associates (obviously favoured by the council, they were also chosen with Athfield Architects to design the $18million Waitangi Park).

Is there a chance that the Council might have second thoughts about the cost of wiping out the Manners Mall less than five years after it was created? There are small signs of apprehension. The Council website talks of “tough decisions” to be made about priorities.

Mayor Prendergast has been more specific. The Dominion Post reports her as having a goal of cutting $3million off Council spending every year for the next decade, to keep rates in line with inflation. “We can’t keep doing everything we have been doing.”

But the messages are contradictory.

In the same newspaper, the Mayor announced that the Council was commissioning a report on the cost and viability of a 10,000-seat indoor arena which could be built above the Stadium and would cost “about $100 million.”

The Council already owns the Events Centre (now renamed the Vector Arena), the Town Hall, the Ilott Concert Chamber, the Michael Fowler Centre, the St James Theatre and the Embassy Theatre. Why does it think the city needs another, bigger space? The answer seems to be that it’s desirable for us to see international music acts such as Stevie Wonder, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, even Kylie Minogue.

Then there’s the $46million which the Council plans to spend on an indoor sports centre way out in Kilbirnie, if it gets resource consent.

Not everyone likes this idea. “The council is mad to build the centre in Kilbirnie,” Cr Andy Foster told Capital Times last year. “The cost is astronomical, and it is an inferior location.”

And that was before the Council started to think about the need to cut spending.

It shouldn’t be difficult to make decisions about what is absolutely necessary.

Reconstructing parks which already exist? Tearing up a pedestrian mall less than five years after it was built? $46million for netball, basketball, and volleyball? $100million for one-off concerts by Kylie and Stevie?

How tough are tough decisions?

Lindsay Shelton. 25 November, 2008.

*************

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Syed Atiq ul Hassan: Eye-Opener For Islamic Community

An event of siege, terror and killing carried out by Haron Monis in the heart of Sydney business district has been an eye-opener for the Islamic Community in Australia. Haron was shot down before he killed two innocent people, a lawyer and a manager ... More>>

Jonathan Cook: US Feels The Heat On Palestine Vote At UN

The floodgates have begun to open across Europe on recognition of Palestinian statehood. On 12 December the Portuguese parliament became the latest European legislature to call on its government to back statehood, joining Sweden, Britain, Ireland, France ... More>>

ALSO:


Fightback: MANA Movement Regroups, Call For Mana Wahine Policy

In the wake of this years’ electoral defeat, the MANA Movement is regrouping. On November 29th, Fightback members attended a Members’ Hui in Tāmaki/Auckland, with around 70 attending from around the country. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: The Mockingjay Of Palestine: “If We Burn, You Burn With Us”

Raed Mu’anis was my best friend. The small scar on top of his left eyebrow was my doing at the age of five. I urged him to quit hanging on a rope where my mother was drying our laundry. He wouldn’t listen, so I threw a rock at him. More>>

ALSO:

Don Franks: Future Of Work Commission: Labour's Shrewd Move

Lunging boldly towards John Key, shouting 'Cut the crap!' - Andrew Little was great, wasn't he? Labour's new leader spoke for many people fed up with Key's flippant arrogant deceit. Andrew Little nailing the Prime minister on lying about contacting a rightwing ... More>>

Asia-Pacific Journal: MSG Headache, West Papuan Heartache? Indonesia’s Melanesian Foray

Asia and the Pacific--these two geographic, political and cultural regions encompass entire life-worlds, cosmologies and cultures. Yet Indonesia’s recent enthusiastic outreach to Melanesia indicates an attempt to bridge both the constructed and actual ... More>>

Valerie Morse: The Security State: We Should Not Be Surprised, But We Should Be Worried

On the very day that the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security released her report into the actions of people the Prime Minister’s office in leaking classified Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) documents to right-wing smearmonger Cameron ... More>>

Ramzy Baroud: PFLP Soul-Searching: Rise And Fall Of Palestine’s Socialists

When news reports alleged that the two cousins behind the Jerusalem synagogue attack on 18 November were affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a level of confusion reigned. Why the PFLP? Why now? More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news