So it seems as though the WCC have decided to give permission to go ahead, to the developer of the project at Kumutoto. Seems like only last week they were having a hearing – and so it seems a little early to have made a decision – given the normal glacial rate of progress on decisions in this fine city of ours…

Apparently this is a permission only to take it to the next level – of a “detailed design and commercial case” phase, but it is worth having a look at some of the cases made for and against the building. Hmmm. If only I could – there seems to be nothing left on the WCC website right now – hopefully that will be rectified some time soon. I’d like to note that, according to Stuff:
“The decision was made with minimal debate, despite divided public opinion on the design – earlier this year, the council received 97 submissions for and 99 against the proposal.”
Hmmm again. Minimal debate. I’m guessing that not everyone sees this decision as “minimal debate.” So – what do we know? What we know so far is that:

“The design approved today comes in 3.7m higher. It also includes a public gallery and shopping space on the ground floor and potentially a public space on the roof. The rooftop access dominated the discussion at today’s transport and urban development committee, after officers recommended public access should no longer be a requirement because of health and safety concerns.
However, an amendment suggested by committee chairman Andy Foster and moved by Justin Lester successfully added the need to “use best endeavours” to explore ways to ensure roof access to a list of other design considerations – such as wind management and vehicle access – that will now be developed further. Foster said the extra level was one of the biggest issues with the building, and making sure it offered a public benefit was essential. “That for me is one of the reasons for having the extra height.”

Pity I missed it – sounds like a riveting time. Officers recommending that public access not be a requirement because of health and safety… you’re kind of missing the plot guys. This building needs to be ALL about public access, and you better believe it. Don’t argue it away for us.

A lot of discussion from Waterfront Watch, at least, I know would have centred on the views out across the site. While the actual purpose of the site certainly is a point of valid issue – do we want the site to be occupied by an office building, or do we want it to be left vacant for the people of Wellington on which to gather? The views over the site seem to be a more dubious issue to me. Should someone really be prioritising the view across the site as they sail merrily past in their car? Or as they walk past the site? Let’s just have a look at the site. This is it by night:

OK. I’m really not that impressed by that view – that’s the one I see most of the time, when I’m driving along the waterfront at night. As you do. Is it better by day?

I mean – really? Is that it? Honest to god, this is a snap taken from the other side of the road. Damn cars. Cars everywhere. To me, not much of a view. So I then went to the middle. Risked my life getting across the highway, just to get the view. Yes, there is some sky, but here I was, walking into the middle of the road, standing on the median strip, the highest thing around (the view would be worse on the pavement, as it is lower…) and trying to get a photo of this fabled great view. Now, normally, people would just be driving past in their cars, eyes focused ahead, looking out for the traffic… not looking out at this apparently great view.

But of course, that’s being mean. There IS a great view, behind the fence, and the hedge, and the cars, and the campervans, and the big sheds on the waterfront. Kind of like this view here:

Still not really doing it for me though, and that’s a randomly selected point on that street, looking out to the harbour view. Bugger all sea that I can see there, that’s for sure. There’s a far off glimpse of Mt Victoria, and even a tiny strip of the hills behind Eastbourne, but mostly what we can see is the derelict former TopCat ferry terminal, which as far as I know hasn’t been used for the last 10 years or so.

So this is a better look at that view. There’s parts of it that are quite nice. We can imagine, couple of years down the line, that the stupid hedge and that dumb fence might have gone, along with the cruddy line of big white campervans that have no business being in the front line of our city. Can we get rid of that damn big shed next? Why isn’t someone protesting about that damn ugly turquoise lump of a building?

Or, seeing as this is the only picture we have from any vaguely similar angle, would it be better to have something like this?

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