‘Move the Events Centre’ – Varnham
The Events Centre on Queen’s Wharf is a blot on the waterfront and should be moved to another site.
This was the message from councillor and waterfront campaigner Mary Varnham to a Waterfront Watch meeting on Sunday.
Varnham said the centre was the most hated building in Wellington.
‘In the five years it’s been there I haven’t found a single person who likes it. It’s been described as looking like a Soviet ablution block, and that’s praising it. It is oversize, ugly and has nil architecture merit.
‘It’s time the Council listened to overwhelming public opinion and got rid of it.’
She suggested the building should be moved to a site on railway land alongside the stadium, and linked to the proposed new indoor multi-sports facility.
‘It makes huge sense to group these facilities in one place. There’s been a very expensive infrastructure developed for the stadium - on-site parking, pedestrian walkways and public transport connections. Locating more facilities there would greatly increase the return from the Council’s investment.’
Varnham said the Events Centre had been a pathetically poor performer on its current site. ‘In the four months from November to February there are only 13 event days booked.
‘Why should Wellingtonians have to put up with this hideous eyesore when it’s sitting empty for 90 percent of the time?”
Queen’s Wharf would be transformed by turning the Events Centre site into a green urban park, with small buildings for restaurants and cafes. ‘The biggest success stories are Shed 5, Dockside and Frank Kitts Park. We should emulate success not failure.’
The Waterfront Leadership Group had received advice that shifting the building would be straightforward, Varnham said.
Her resolution that Waterfront Watch seek the removal and relocation of the Events Centre was passed unanimously by the meeting.