City Watch #4

Our latest round up of recent news and events around Wellington. If you think we’ve missed anything or having any tip offs or information please contact us.

Mayoral candidate Jack Yan has released his campaign manifesto and reckons his opponents are beginning to draw out and repeat some of the in it. It’s an impressive effort that’s well designed, accessible and released early. A nice change to the usual nothing of local body campaigns.

In a bizarre move, Wellington City Council is proposing there should be different trading hours for different quarters of the central city. Bar owners are rightly concerned, when the Council should instead be aggressively going after those who show scant regard for their legal obligations and strip them of their licences.

Staff who have worked for the Wellington City Council for nearly two years may be getting a living wage as councillors consider introducing a $18.40 living wage as part of its annual plan. Hopefully they follow though with it. Council sources say that Eastern Ward councillor Leonie Gill is the key vote to see it happen.

With almost two million dollars taken out of Wellington City Council’s libraries budget over the past three years, a new coalition has been formed to campaign against the cuts. This prompted Labour’s Onsow Western Ward candidate Malcolm Aitken put a statement out. Libraries are again looking to be a key election issue.

Meanwhile Labour Southern Ward councillor Paul Eagle posted on Facebook that “Wellington City Council got it wrong: we never asked the communities of Brooklyn, Kingston, Mornington and Vogeltown if they wanted their library closed.” He will now facilitate a discussion at the Brooklyn Residents Association AGM focusing on “what would it take to build a constructive and collaborative relationship in the future between council and local businesses, organisations and residents?”

Wellington City Council is unlikely to be liable for the Kingston slip that forced 35 people from their homes, council officers say. It was also believed that a burst water pipe in the area had not contributed to the slip.

The Fluoride Fundies were polishing their tinfoil hats when they presented a petition calling for the removal of fluoride from Wellington’s water supply during draft annual plan submissions last month. They were supported by fellow fluoride-truther and Southern Ward councillor Bryan Pepperell. The Dominion Post have a good look at the issue here.

Wellington has another artificial sports turf with the completion of the new Saint Patrick’s sportsfield in partnership with WCC.

This can only get better for the Hutt with more than 100 students from Victoria University’s School of Architecture applying their creative skills to inspire the future of Lower Hutt by redesigning it as part of a new partnership between Victoria and Hutt City Council.

John Morrison has finally got an online presence, kind of, with this Facebook page. If his page and early newspaper ads are anything to go by, I’m not holding my breath for an amazing campaign.

Proving the concerns of those who protested its development all those years ago, after 60 crashes in five years on the Karo Drive bypass, speeds between Willis Street and the Terrace Tunnel will be reduced and monitoring of red-light runners ramped up.

A new report out by the re-branded Business Roundtable dressed up as an “independent public policy organisation” has found, surprise, surprise, that local government is the problem, especially their focus on compact cities that in their view has restricted suburban growth (sprawl), pushing up house prices.

The Anzac Day Aussie Rules game in Wellington is contributed more than $9 million to the city’s economy. Now more matches are on the card for 2014.

Despite being quite possible the most useless aspect of the current arrangement of governance, the Greater Wellington Regional Council will give a almost every council in the region the finger and vote this week to ask for a two-tier Wellington super-city. Fran can barely hide her desire to be a super city mayor.

Meanwhile Wellington City Council is getting love from the Wairarapa following their endorsement of separate “metro” super Wellington Council and a “provincial” unitary super Wairarapa Council. Very smart politics on WCC’s part.

The mechanical rats of the street/taxi industry are threatening legal action against the Wellington City Council if they don’t drop plans to charge for taxi stands.

Eastern Ward Councillor Simon Marsh has labelled the Kilbirnie Town Centre upgrade as a “debacle” and Mayor Celia Wade-Brown has apologised to business owners on behalf of the Council.

Cuba Street’s Thistle Hall will close as it undergoes a $1 million earthquake-strengthening project later this year. Meanwhile, work to install base isolaters to earthquake-strengthen the Town Hall will begin in November as the Council embark on four years of work to bring it up to 140 per cent of the building code.

Onslow-Western Ward candidate Hayley Robinson has endorsed Jack Yan for mayor, joining Sir Michael Fowler in doing so, following Yan’s earlier endorsement of her.

Wellington City Council’s ASB Sports Centre in Kilbirnie, the Regent Park Apartments in Newtown, and the Zoo’s new Hub precinct and Kamala’s pavilion were among 19 exemplary building projects recognised at the recent New Zealand Architecture Awards.

Picture 8

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