Johnsonville Neglected by Council.

“Wellington City Council has failed and neglected Johnsonville for a long time – that’s obvious. Projects proposed to be started, finished and funded have not been.

Last night Council (by a majority of one) made that worse in an election panic ad hoc move by two councillors which sees no real commitment to comprehensive integrated urban design or to expenditure or programming of needed infrastructure and services. In the case of the new library their move acknowledged no step forward to progress it. Johnsonville has been plagued by ad hoc infill and development and needs a considered and integrated quality approach.

The plan change (DCP 72 and 73) is more about services needed in Johnsonville and surrounding, and less about housing – and not about infill as such. The plan change recommends one building per site permitted instead of the present two but does permit a greater site coverage (50% instead of 35%). The height, 8 metres remains the same as before.

The Change is about the possibility of well designed areas of medium density housing to take advantage of existing and future nodes of services such as public transport. I welcome the possibility of an integrated comprehensive design (including the centre triangle, Main Road, Mall; along with the area of medium density). It is an exciting prospect if it gets off the ground and is implemented.

Fortunately some progress has been able to be made for Johnsonville through successful motions that I proposed last year to ensure that the funds allocated years ago to the upgrade of the Johnsonville pool were committed. A further move of mine has ensured funding for a feasibility study of co-locating a long overdue new library next to Keith Spry Pool with a shared administration area and some shared planning.

The reality is that Johnsonville is the centre of the fastest growing area of Wellington. The area is already the size of a New Zealand City. Quality urban design is needed now and in the future. With the medium density housing proposed (in the “area of change”) this becomes even more compelling, with an expected future increase in population.

Of all areas of the City Johnsonville stands out as needing attention in many ways, and the recommendations of the Commissioner who heard the Plan Change must be heeded by the Council.”

Helene Ritchie Wellington City Councillor Health Board Member
26 August 2010