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Growth planned for Wellington's suburban centres, inner city

Next week (Thursday 20 June), Wellington City Councillors will be asked to agree a preferred direction for intensification of the city centre and suburban centres to provide for population growth over the next 30 years.

This follows the Planning for Growth city-wide engagement earlier this year on four growth scenarios, alongside a survey on the Council’s blueprint to become a Zero Carbon Capital by 2050.

In addition, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Wellington City Council will make decisions by the end of June about funding and next steps for the ‘Let’s Get Wellington Moving’ programme of work.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says this is an exciting time for Wellington.

“Never before in the history of our city have we had an opportunity of this scale to bring about transformational change.”

“How we grow our city, how we move around our city and how we deal with seismic risk and the causes and impacts of climate change will impact generations to come.”

Wellington City Council expects 50,000 to 80,000 more people to call Wellington home over the next 30 years. With the District Plan up for review in the next two years, the Council’s Urban Development Portfolio Leader, Councillor Andy Foster, says this is our once in a generation opportunity to get things right.

“The 1372 Planning for Growth submissions are telling us that Wellingtonians have a strong preference for growth primarily in and around existing suburbs and the central city”, he says.

“This is to do with keeping the city compact, and managing natural hazard risks, and because people want an efficient transport system that moves more people with fewer cars.

“The submissions also show that Wellingtonians place value on the pre-1930 character areas in the inner suburbs, although many consider that a more refined approach to protecting areas that are really special and allowing for change in other areas would be appropriate.

“There is little support for any new ‘greenfield’ development, because it works against our compact urban form. People have strong views about this leading to more cars on the road and carbon emissions, along with the negative impacts it could have on our natural environment.”

The Planning for Growth and Te Atakura First to Zero engagements collectively attracted over 2400 submissions, giving a clear steer on where and how people think the city should grow.

Of the Planning for Growth submissions 67 percent of people said that they agree or strongly agree with scenario two’s suburban focus with some inner city growth as the best balance over all.

Fifty-seven percent preferred scenario one’s inner city focus, with just 24 percent supporting a new suburb in Ohariu, and 29 percent agreeing that extensions around Takapu Valley, Horokiwi and Owhiro Bay offered the best balance for the city.

As well as the formal submission process, 250 high school students shared their view by giving the Suburban Vibe and Inner City cool options a clear ‘thumbs up’.

Councillor David Lee, who holds the Climate Change Portfolio, says this programme of work is our opportunity to embrace the new, while protecting the things that make us uniquely who we are.

“Wellingtonians clearly value our compact urban form. We love that we can walk from one edge of town to the other, and people have spoken up loud and clear about doing what’s right for our city and the environment.”

The Council’s Chief City Planner, David Chick, says the response to the Te Atakura – First to Zero blueprint showed overwhelming support for action, with 92% saying the Council need to prioritise becoming zero carbon by 2050, no matter what, and 82% of people saying we need to do it more quickly that 2050.

“Where we enable growth, and how we capitalise on the opportunity presented by Let’s Get Wellington Moving to provide quality transport options, will be key to reducing our carbon emissions and playing our part in keeping our planet in the ‘climate safe’ zone.

“We have been delighted with the level of engagement. People have thought hard about the tradeoffs which we know are challenging.”

Mr Chick says that over coming weeks City Council Officers from across the projects will work with other key stakeholders including the Regional Council and New Zealand Transport Agency staff to progress next steps.

To see the full report go to the City Strategy Committee 20 June meeting information on wcc.govt.nz

© Scoop Media

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