The Eye of the Fish

April 15, 2015

Long term plan

Councilor Helene Ritchie has posed a list of very good questions – which she is seeking feedback on. What DO we want from our Long Term Plan? Wellington City Council is seeking feedback, by April 17. So, hurry up! Ok, over to Councilor Ritchie:   0274488669
Your answers will help guide me in my decision-making. Please email back to me.
Formal submission forms  are available on
Closing date April 17.
(Some figures are indicative only and may not represent the final cost)
Do you think your rates  should  be used to fund:
1. A developer and Hilton Convention Centre
$36.9 million (ten years, locked in for 20,  renewable for a further 15- approx $100 million- 35 years)
2. The historic Town Hall earthquake strengthening
3. A New concert and sports arena  $64m
4. Museum of conflict/war  $10-$18m
5. A $300-$500m extension to the airport runway (majority owned by a private company)
6. A film museum Waterfront location?          $5m
7. If you have a priority new project  which  number is it?
8. There are a number of ” flexible”, unspecific economic funds proposals in the budget of  over $230 million.  Should  Council  be able to  dip into  these without clearly specifying the specific purpose and outcomes?
9. Council is proposing to separately title parts of the heart of the City-Civic Centre, and to sell it  piece by piece to developers:
• The early (MOB) large Council building and
• The green open space (Ilott Green)
to be replaced with a building-height allowable  27m (or more with dispensations) and
• The Michael Fowler Centre carpark
The Civic Centre was  originally designed  as an integrated whole. Today it is the best public civic  space  in Aotearoa/NZ ; with heritage status.
Do you support the dismantling of civic centre and these sales?
12. Should Council “demolish” Frank Kitts Park, put a Chinese Garden there,  flatten and change the Children’s playground? ($8.5m approx next 2 years)
13. Should Council instead maintain Frank Kitts Park,  and leave it as it is?
14. Should the Town Hall be opened up now (and get on with restrengthening it in accordance with the Council time limits: cf St James and Opera House)
(The Town hall at present is planned to be closed for approx 8 years until 2012-20.)
(Approx. $58.5 m)

15 - 04 - 15

Now, I’m not sure about the veracity of any of Councilor Ritchie’s $$$$$ assertions – I haven’t checked any of them, although I have no reason to doubt her either. I’ve not heard of these allegations to sell off bits of Civic Square – certainly does not seem to have been picked up by the mainstream media yet – but then I’m not a City Councilor, and so she will have the inside skinny on that. Keen to have your feedback here, or send direct to her.

16 - 04 - 15

The “sale” of Civic Square is offering long-term leases and development rights. From memory, the lease duration is 125 years.

16 - 04 - 15

The language is biased, which is disappointing. But I don’t understand why WCC is focusing on putting more money into developers’ pockets (Hilton Hotel) instead of sticking to providing facilities for residents. If they want to help developers, put more resources into consenting and making processes easier to understand/apply for.

And why are they focusing on taking our green space and putting ‘developments’ on them? The green space is part of what makes Wellington so liveable!

17 - 04 - 15

One of the things about Civic Square is that it is a very dull and boring place. Yes, it may be a pedestrian only zone, but apart from sitting, or walking, there is not actually anything to do there. It is not the sort of place you go to, other than when there is an event on. Perhaps they are hoping to sell areas of the square to make some life and action happen in the square? What if someone was to open a cafe or restaurant that opened out into the Civic Square, from the ground floor of the Town Hall, or the Council building? Is that what they are aiming for? Cos that would be nice…

22 - 04 - 15

Leviathan. On Wellington.Scoop in February we ran a report about the council’s plans or hopes to earn money by leasing the Municipal Building and the Town Hall (even) and to allow new buildings on the MFC carpark and (even) on Jack Ilott Green. Here’s our report. And here’s the council’s original announcement back in December: You really need to start reading wellington.scoop to keep up with things.

John H
24 - 04 - 15

Ath agreed with you Alan in regards to Civic Square and recognised that it didn’t work as intended. One of the reasons is that the substantial building which was planned for the Illot Green site was never built due to the arse falling out of the commercial property market after the 1987 share market crash. It was meant for commercial tenants (not Council) and had it gone ahead it would have injected a lot of life into Civic Square. One of my great disappointments was the failure of the proposal in the early-mid 2000’s to build a new facility for the NZ School of Music on the Jack Illot site; a couple of hundred arty-students being based on Civic Square would have been a huge boost to the area. There are some fascinating images from Ath showing how Civic Square could have looked had his proposal gone ahead in this lecture he gave in 2011…