Hi there – and welcome to 2024, albeit I’m a month late. Reasons: sunshine, weather, fishing, aged parents, and a complete inability to get anything done when all of those former issues combine. Anyway, I’m here now, I think.

In our minds, Courtenay is always like this – full of dancing girls and boys, pavements clean and tidy.

When this blog started, back in 2008, I think that the founders wanted it to be a place where Architecture, Urban Design, Photography etc all collided and were made to feel comfortable. Sadly, the photography aspect never really took off (more contributors always welcome!) and the original gangsters Maximus and Philip seemed to disappear after a while. Luckily Leviathan stepped (swam?) into the breach, and lasted for quite a while, until I got in my tiny submarine and started exploring a few years ago. So here we are, again.

If you are wondering what the 2 is doing here on these pictures, that means “medium term” eg NOT immediately

While I would love to be talking about all the fantastic new building going on around the city, there really isn’t any. Well, not much, really. We’re still on that strengthen or demolish phase, and lately the news has all been about the sewer pipes or the cycleways, neither of which topic excite me much. But one place that I do take an interest in, is Courtenay Place, and so when WCC emailed me to say that there was now a Courtenay Place Precinct Plan in place, I got so excited that I fair spouted frothy foam from my little fishy lips and blew a bubble from my blowhole! Hooray! Courtenay has a Plan, at last. ….I think.

The number 1 up top of course means IMMEDIATE Action. As Immediate as Action on sewer pipes…?

Man, was I disappointed. Go on – click on that link highlighted above and see what you think. To me, it is not so much a “plan” as a series of statements:

1 Strategic alcohol management Maintain and improve public order through responsible supply and consumption of alcohol, harm reduction strategies, and licensed venue management and processes.

2 Improved public space High quality and well managed public space, that meets the needs of residents and visitors and tells the history of the area visibly, including Te Aro Pā.

3 Diversify offering Offer alternative viable entertainment experiences that all ages can participate in and is not centred around alcohol.

4 Kaitiaki Adequate capable guardianship and harm reduction services available.

5 Promotion and reputation building Change in the perception of Courtenay Place is needed to support greater audiences to visit, residents to be proud of and to bring up confidence.

2 again – in other words, Medium term, also defined as Likely Some time in the distance

Yes, well, hardly inspiring, and tells us nothing really. So they go on and reinforce that, with these three “objectives for the Courtenay Place Precinct Plan”:

1 Improve experience on Courtenay Place so everyone can enjoy it safely.

2 Improve image and reputation of Courtenay Place.

3 Attract investment to Courtenay Place.

Ooooh, a 3 !! That means way off in the distance, or hardly ever, until WCC get their shit together

To me, still missing the How and the What. We all already know the Why. No doubt some consultants are already being hired. Let’s hope they hire some competent architects or landscape people this time.

These are the numbers that really matter = $500 million spent per year, and a near doubling of population

Finally they ask us to be interested, by noting: “What part can you play in a reimagined Courtenay Place? Get in touch” poneke.promise@wcc.govt.nz

Back to a 2 – and perhaps an explanation why the WCC wants to buy Readings and “fix their ground”

What do you think of their ideas? What other ideas can you suggest? Feel free to discuss it here as well as emailing them direct. It’s our front yard – let’s get it under control !