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Public meeting to discuss VUW’s plan to sell its Karori land and buildings

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Three councillors have called a public meeting for tonight to discuss Victoria University’s plan to sell its Karori campus. The meeting will be from 7.30 until 9 pm at the Karori Normal School Hall. It aims to discuss concerns about how the community can have a greater say and influence on what happens to the campus.

Media release from 3 city councillors – August 9
Victoria University this week announced it is putting the Karori College of Education Campus on the open market. The Wellington City Council has previously agreed that it has an interest in part of the land for additional car parking for the pool and recreation courts (netball and tennis). This is currently under negotiation between the Council, the Ministry of Education and Victoria University. The Council has also been working with the community group “Save the Karori Campus” in compiling a viable business case for the establishment of a mix of commercial and community facilities for the remaining facilities and land.

Given current negotiations, Onslow-Western Councillors (Andy Foster, Diane Calvert and Simon Woolf) were surprised by the sudden announcement yesterday from Victoria University.

Councillor Andy Foster says “This will have a significant impact on the development of the community led proposal and an integrated ‘masterplan’ for the whole site”.

The Councillors have therefore decided to hold a public meeting on Monday 14th August from 7.30 until 9 pm at Karori Normal School hall to discuss how the community can have a greater say and influence on the outcome of the Karori Campus. The focus will be on ensuring the government is aware and committed to ensuring community concerns for the future of Karori Campus are addressed.

The Campus is currently used by many western suburbs residents for sports like netball, tennis, cricket practice and football training. Young dance students are taught every week in the Campus dance studio. The courts in particular are enormously important to Karori Normal School. Within the buildings there are a range of specialized studios for music, pottery, film and shared office space.

“It’s not just what happens already on the campus, it is the enormous potential the site and the buildings have for both the local community and city as a whole. The buildings are in good condition and seismically strong, and would be easily converted into a range of commercial and community uses, in a way that should be commercially viable” says Councillor Andy Foster.

Save Karori Campus spokesperson Richard Bentley says “We have been talking to a number of prospective tenants and are aware that Councillors have been talking with others. We see real opportunity for a medical services and primary health care hub.”

Councillor Simon Woolf says “At the heart of the campus is a superb, sunny, sheltered quad with adjacent commercial kitchens and one of the largest halls in the western suburbs. There has been interest from café operators and performing arts groups. There is potential for this to become once again a special destination in the western suburbs, not just for the facilities but also the additional resilience it offers to the city.”

In addition to community groups, the local Councillors are inviting representatives of all the major political parties standing in Wellington Central to seek their personal and party commitments to helping the community achieve their vision.

“Wellington City Council cannot do this alone nor do we think the Ministry of Education should be the only government agency involved in helping to develop a masterplan for the site’s future. We also want to send a clear message to central government that this is a long standing publicly owned asset that we are seeking their support to retain for mixed commercial, education and community tenure” says Councillor Diane Calvert.

4 comments:

  1. Diane Calvert, 9. August 2017, 13:28

    Govt coffers stand to gain (20%) from any sale of Karori Campus? Might explain their reluctance to retain the public asset? [via twitter]

     
  2. Michael, 9. August 2017, 16:12

    Why can’t the campus be converted into social housing and public green space??????

     
  3. Diane Calvert, 11. August 2017, 12:17

    Doesn’t seem right for Wgtn city ratepayers and taxpayers having to pay twice for Karori Campus [via twitter]

     
  4. Concerned Wellingtonian, 13. August 2017, 13:45

    Well said, Diane, and well-organised all three of you.

     

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