City Watch #11

The eleventh round up of recent news and events around Wellington. If you think we’ve missed anything or have any information please contact us. Thanks to those who have been sending things in.

It’s been confirmed to us that Celia Wade-Brown has indeed initiated a Twitter switchover for her reelection campaign. Good call.

In breaking news (not, lol), Keith Johnson has pulled out of running for mayor, opting instead to run for the easier to win District Health Board.

Hutt City Council has called on the Local Government Commission to stay connected with the will of ratepayers in the Wellington region and to push for cost efficient management. Mayor Ray Wallace says his council unanimously supported a Local Government Reorganisation alternative application which proposes two new options that will provide a real alternative to a single council supercity.

Mark Peck has released first campaign video. John Morrison has released another video of himself at a sports facility saying how great it is.

The Greater Wellington Regional Council applied to release the butterflies in order to control Japanese honeysuckle, which it says is causing problems on public land in the North Island.

Lower Hutt councillor Margaret Ward writes about how important involving youth in decision making and planning is.

A resource consent application for the nearly $44 million earhquake strengthening project has been lodged with the council and will be assessed by a different team at the council. The main focus of the application is the impact of the earthquake-strengthening work – which includes adding base isolation planes to the foundations – on the town hall’s heritage values.

A city councillor and potential mayoral candidate suffered a case of the Morrison by using material from blogs for her business columns says failing to attribute the material was an “oversight“.

The Wellingtonian (and probably many ratepayers) hope that Wellington City Council chief executive Kevin Lavery’s pointed criticisms the other week are not ignored.

Celia Wade-Brown believes a blanket smoking ban is too big a step, at least for now, following a University of Otago submission to Wellington City Council earlier this year, recommended banning smoking along the Golden Mile of Courtenay Place, Willis St and Lambton Quay, as well as outside cafes.

Wellington bar owners are urging the city council to introduce fines for drunks on the streets but police say earlier closing times for bars is the best way to curb alcohol problems.

Roadside advertising on trailers seems to be on the rise in Wellington.

Wellington Waterfront is close to selecting its preferred developer for the Kumutoto precinct after earlier plans for a big office block on the site were rejected by the Environment Court. Chief executive Ian Pike said five proposals were received for sites 9 and 10, the car park area opposite the NZ Post headquarters in Waterloo Quay.

Michael Forbes has another good long story, this time about Wellington Airport’s “growth spurt“.

Surging waves severed the Wellington-Hutt Valley rail line in June and again in July, prompting renewed calls for a better seawall. The storm on the evening of June 20 washed away the base of the line in several places and halted trains for six days.

Wellington City Council is rallying behind businesses in Kilbirnie after an upgrade of the main shopping area took nearly four months longer than expected.

A former mayoral candidate who pulled out of October’s election has changed his mind and jumped back in. Kapiti Coast District councillor Ross Church announced in July he was no longer running for mayor and would quit at the end of this term.

Water usage has hit record lows across much of the Wellington region, thanks to public water-saving efforts over summer. Porirua was the most frugal water user, cutting back usage by 2.5 per cent. It was followed closely by Wellington city, which reduced consumption 2.2 per cent, and Upper Hutt, which managed a 2 per cent saving. Lower Hutt used 1.5 per cent less water.

Plans to split from the Wellington regions has cost Wairarapa ratepayers $778,615 over the past 2 years.

In response to what Wellington City councillor Paul Eagle described as a “rife graffiti problem in the area”, the Newtown Residents’ Association, the Newtown Business Group, Newtown New World and Wellington City Council have combined to organise a Keep Newtown Clean campaign.

Public art ideas for vacant commercial space in Wellington are being sought by this week by the agency Urban Dream Brokerage, established this year by public art programme Letting Space.

A shock demand for almost $4000 annual rent for a council property used free for decades has left the Upper Hutt Amateur Radio Club doubting its future and its role in the city’s civil defence capability.

The children’s spray pools at Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre in Kilbirnie will be closed for six weeks from Monday 19 August while a much needed spruce-up is completed. Now five years-old, the spray pools, children’s area and changing rooms will be closed for the first scheduled five-yearly maintenance of these facilities, reopening on Saturday 28 September.

An artesian well in Wellington is responsible for almost $10,000 in donations to Wellington Free Ambulance.

Wellington and Wairarapa councils have confirmed the penalty fees charged on overdue rates payments are by the book after Christchurch City Council was left exposed to legal action when it was revealed the council had not formally set the due dates on rates and the penalties charged if payments were late for the last nine years.

Wellington City is leading the way with its new e-waste recycling partnership according to Celia Wade-Brown.

A bus driver who tried to stop five teenagers being savagely beaten in Lower Hutt on Sunday night says security cameras on buses are crucial.

Kapiti’s council is set for a $300 million asset boost by revaluing the land under its roads. Kapiti Coast District councillors vote Thursday whether to revalue the land for the first time since 2002. Without the change the council faces the risk of breaching its debt limit – calculated including assets. How convenient!

Southern Ward candidate Jacob Toner believes that cycle lanes from the suburbs to CBD is an idea whose time has come.

08-wgn-Newtown

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