City Watch #12

The twelfth 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.

Mayoral candidate John Morrison said he is not standing for the Onslow-Western ward, which he’s represented since 1998.

Wellington ratepayers are likely to contribute a lot more than the $1 million they have already spent on the proposed airport runway extension, if it is ever built. Infrastructure investor Infratil has confirmed it is keen to proceed with the $300 million project but only if central or local government pays most of the bill. Scoop also have a good analysis of the issue.

Rex Nicholls, husband of former mayor Kerry Prendergast and a long-term Wellington city councillor till he stepped down in 1998, has decided to stand for the council again.

The $300 million redevelopment of the Johnsonville Shopping Centre (see image below) has been stalled for at least 18 months because of Wellington’s uncertain economic environment.

Labour’s Capital & Coast District Health Board candidate David Choat believes this election is a clear a choice between cuts or quality health services

Lindsay Shelton looks at what happens now the voting on a super-city has ended. All seven votes have been counted. Each vote wants something different. And now the Local Government Commission takes over the job of deciding: what happens next.

The Wellingtonian believes it’s time to act over trailer billboards.

Wellington City Council says by working closely with the New Zealand Transport Agency they have achieved significant improvements to the proposed Basin Reserve flyover.

Porirua ratepayers could be $100,000 out of pocket after a solution to the Maraeroa School flooding was proposed last week.

Tension is building as a group of guerrilla gardeners battle to save land at the former Mt Crawford prison site from sale by the Crown. The former Wellington prison site, located at Main and Nevay roads in Miramar, is about 13 hectares in size. The gardeners have begun planting vegetables, herbs and fruit in an attempt to create a Mt Crawford community garden.

Andy Morrison wonders where all the cycle ways are.

In a shock move independent candidate Jacob Toner has announced he will stand in the Northern Ward for the upcoming Wellington City Council elections, instead of the Southern Ward where he had originally begun campaigning.

Wellington’s waterfront will host a “Bavarian Showdown” with the introduction of the famous German festival Oktoberfest to the craft beer capital.

Ghost candidates: Strathmore Park blog has been attempting to profile each candidate in all the wards, without much luck.

The Harcourts building has become a cadaver haunting central Wellington, the Environment Court has heard. In his opening statements for property developer Mark Dunajtschik, counsel Con Anastasiou said restoring the heritage building was not commercially viable. Mr Dunajtschik has appealed against a Wellington City Council ruling to stop him from demolishing the Lambton Quay building to make way for a 25-storey tower block.

Wellington City Council is embarking on a major project to integrate and streamline its IT systems allowing the Council to serve its business units and customers better. It expects to cut annual IT costs by a third.

Green Party Eastern Ward candidate Sarah Free has started to put her hoardings up. Paul Eagle is also starting to cover the Southern Ward and Mark Peck in Lambton.

A big crane is now in Wellington to start taking down a quake-weakened lift tower in the central city. The tower in Lukes Lane was damaged in the 6.5 magnitude earthquake on July 21, and took another hit during Friday’s 6.6 jolt.

The Hutt Rec would make a “magnificent” regional stadium. That is the view of councillor Ken Laban, after he inspected the ground before the All Blacks “Game of Three Halves” earlier this month.

The Pop-Up Chocolate Factory continues to buzz, keeping thousands of people happy and high on endorphins. More than four thousand people have visited the make shift factory over the past ten days, including the capital’s Mayor Celia Wade Brown, and the recent quakes have done little to stop Wellingtonians from getting their hands on chocolate.

Leighton Contractors has started a three-year, $30 million road maintenance and services contract awarded for Wellington City Council. Street litter collection, road corridor vegetation cutting and weed spraying are included the contract.

Wellington City Council’s waste unit CitiOperations manager, Zac Jordan, has clinched a deal with e-waste specialists RemarkIT to give capital dwellers the country’s first free, non-subsidised e-waste recycling service.

The Dominion Post covers Ginette McDonald’s announcement that she’s running for council.

Kapiti’s first councillor for the next term has already been decided, even though the candidate nomination deadline was only last Friday. Janet Holborow will be the Kapiti Coast District councillor for Paekakariki/Raumati, as the only candidate for the single vacancy.

The “use it or lose it” message hovering over the Capital Connection’s future may not be sinking in, with the service still not running at “commercially sustainable” levels.

Tolling Wellington’s busiest roads, raising petrol prices or parking fees are being considered to help the capital pay for its new public transport. A report, commissioned by Greater Wellington Regional Council, has shed some light on how people across the region could be hit in the pocket when it comes time to fund either a light rail network or a dedicated busway for Wellington City.

The full list of people standing for the local body elections in Kāpiti is here.

Lifelong Paekakariki resident, twenty-year old Jack McDonald has put his name forward to be a voice for Paekākāriki residents as a member of their Community Board.

John Morrison officially launched his mayoral camapaign.

With the turn of a tap water has begun to fill Greater Wellington Regional Council’s newly-strengthened and enlarged water storage lake at Te Marua yesterday. The earthquake strengthened lake is the second of the region’s two lakes to be upgraded and will take about two months to fill to its 1660 million-litre (ML) capacity, depending on river conditions.

Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace has a surprise challenger for the top job but it remains to be seen how seriously the public will take him.

Wellington’s alcohol-free zone should be widened, to include the railway station and car parks”, says Wellington Mayoral candidate, Nicola Young. She also believes double dipping by Wellington City Councillors must stop

Kāpiti Mayor Jenny Rowan has welcomed the High Court decision on the Mackays Crossing to Peka Peka expressway. SaveKapiti are disappointed.

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