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Sunday, 26 November 2017 12:32 am

Waterfront Watch challenges capital council on consulation

 

President of Waterfront Watch Victor Davie (right) addresses the council, in which he talked about his concern with the council process

Wellington City Council has agreed to plans for a new building in Wellington’s North Kumutoto precinct but the consultation for the project has opponents up in arms.

President of Wellington’s Waterfront Watch Victor Davie says the agenda with the latest plan was only made public on Friday, giving people five days to go through it.

Mr Davie says that two weeks would be a better timeframe, and would increase the value of public consultation.

“People have to go and think about it and quite often go and ask consultants,” says Mr Davie.

“Unless they have time to do so it’s really not helping the council.”

Mayor Justin Lester says they meet their statutory requirements, which states they have to release council agendas no less than two days before the meeting.

The proposed Site 9 building. Image: Wellington City Council

Councillor Andy Foster said the plans had not materially changed since April, and concerns about the process were unwarranted.

Throughout the process for the Site 9 development, the council had an onsite information kiosk, it was published on the WCC website, there was a newspaper notice and social media engagement, hard copy submission forms and stakeholder meetings.

The meeting heard that the process was more thorough than the consultation process for the neighbouring site 10 development.

Of the 128 respondents throughout the consultation process, 53% supported the development.

Waterfront Watch also raised concerns with the height of the building, which has been reduced based on public consultation, but still exceeded the Environment Court’s recommended height.

The building is to be five stories high, with a public space on the ground floor, and either a commercial space or accommodation occupying the higher levels.

Waterfront Watch is a group who aim to preserve the Wellington Waterfront.

They say they are not against development, but are against excessive privatisation of the waterfront, believing it should remain a publically accessible space.

The development was opposed by councillors Iona Pannett and Diane Calvert.

However, the council voted to sign a 125 year lease with developer Willis Bond to complete the project.

The plans will now go to the Environment Court and, if approved, building is expected to begin in the second half of 2018.

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