Wellington’s Waterfront is going to be quite full, or so it seems. Yesterday the WCC agreed in principle to the proposed Fale Malae being proposed for the waterfront, or at least for them to go forward to the next phase of planning. This is the same Fale that was proposed for a site up near Parliament (on Bunny St, between the Victoria School of Law in the old Government Buildings, and the VUW Business School in Rutherford House). Evidently someone has ruled that the parliamentary site was unsuitable, and so Frank Kitts Park has been proposed instead.
Frank Kitts Park is going to be a busy place, or so it seems. For some reason the Council seems to have it in for Frank Kitts, given that at one end there is an existing children’s playground which has just been butchered, and at the other end there is an underground carpark building which has just been condemned. Somewhere in the middle there is a proposed Chinese Garden, which has been spoken about for so long now that I’ve lost track of exactly where it is proposed for, and what its time line is. The Chinese Garden proposal was talked about when Kerry Prendergast was Mayor – so, not Andy Foster, not Justin Lester, not Celia Wade-Brown, not Mark Blumsky, but Kerry P – that makes it by my reckoning about 5 Mayors ago? And in all that time, not an ounce of effort actually on site.
So it could be quite possible that what is now Open Space at Frank Kitts (actually double Public space, as it is two levelled – you can have events going on upstairs in the park and downstairs in the carpark / Underground markets at the same time) is now going to have Zero Open Space, with even a potential double booking of both Chinese Garden and Samoan Fale at the same time – and in the same physical space too? Is WCC setting up the waterfront as a venue for combat? Or are they going to happily co-exist nestled next to each other?
I’d love to tell you more, but I simply don’t know. Despite Council agreeing to it, there is virtually no information out in the public domain at present. WSP Opus evidently have done a plan for the old Parliamentary Precinct site, but there are no new drawings, as yet. And only a battle ahead, once Waterfront Watch girdle their loins and prepare, inevitably, to protest once more….