In the Wellingtonian last week, Lambton ward councillor, Iona Pannett, said she would resign if the Island Bay sea wall was not rebuilt. Unfortunately she didn’t put a timeline on the resignation, so we can’t have a countdown clock, but we will keep an eye on this.
For those of us who don’t live in Island Bay this is the back ground –
The drama began after Wellington’s 2013 storm, which knocked a 50-metre hole in the seawall. The wall was later temporarily repaired, with plans to either fix it later or join the beach and Shorland Park.
After a lengthy consultation period, Wellington City Council decided in December that the wall would be repaired by July and a cost of $821,000 was approved.
It left the option of combining the beach and park for the future.
So after two years, not much has happened and the community waits. Paul Eagle as the local ward councillor says he is “sick of it” and just wants it fixed.
But other locals think there is something else going on and that Councillor Pannett is using this opportunity to wipe out a bit of roading by connecting the beach to the nearby park and forcing the waterfront traffic back through Island Bay, in the same way that the waterfront drive threads through Seatoun after dog-legging away from the beach.
While it could make sense in some respects, it isn’t what the community asked for, nor is it what the Council said it would do.
Vicki Greco said she was suspicious of the delay, made worse by the fact that the council is looking at delisting seawalls as heritage listings.
“[Council] were hoping over the winter that a storm would come and wash it away and it would be beyond repair and they would have to rip it out. It hasn’t happened.
“I think they are trying to go back to what they originally wanted and to get rid of the wall and the road.”
Pannett insists that she is just keeping options open for the future and that Council will rebuild the wall. But when?? It has been two years and bugger all has happened.
Pannett denied anything suspicious was going on and said she was adamant the repair would go ahead.
“I’ll resign if it doesn’t.”
It is great to see a Councillor put themselves on the line – but with no end in sight and an election a year away this is an extraordinary statement.