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  1. denby pokai, 24. April 2020, 12:21

    Thanks for writing a commonsense article about how the council is failing in its duties to its ratepayers.

  2. Guy M, 24. April 2020, 14:25

    PCGM – you might want to refer to my comment over here.

  3. michael, 24. April 2020, 17:38

    PCGM – I agree, and Guy – why not leave the top floor as a convention centre and repurpose the ground floor exhibition space for council offices and maybe space for NFP organisations etc.

  4. Hel, 24. April 2020, 18:12

    Guy, Wellington has been crying out for decent facilities like this for a long time and the proximity to Te Papa opens up a world of opportunities. Bush lawyers and diy engineers, though, know better, believing it has to be better to walk away from a contract and do some half-baked repurposing. PCGM if you think walking away from a contract like this won’t result in serious reputation then you’re fooling yourself.

  5. Andrew II, 24. April 2020, 19:31

    I’d wager the Councillors are doing a fine job of managing their reputations.
    1. Sea level rise applies to Civic Square (library) but not the Convention Centre site.
    2. Pay cut then re purposing the savings into other funding is worthy of self congratulatory behavior.
    I’m sure there are other examples.

  6. Conor Hill, 24. April 2020, 20:02

    Yes, none of us completed an LGOIMA at the time of election. Did directly ask a Kevin Lavery stand-in at a public meeting what the cost of cancelling would be, but did not get an answer. I imagine a reasonable chunk of that 60 million has been spent since the election – foundations and the like.

  7. Peter S, 25. April 2020, 1:59

    I agree that the convention centre contract should be re-negotiated. “Reputational damage” my a**e. As PCGM and others are saying, it would be irresponsible to press ahead with a “glamour” project like this, when the WCC (or actually the ratepayers) are facing financial purgatory with the looming post-covid depression.
    Here’s an idea. Mothball the convention centre and spend the other $120M on something that the citizenry want. The Library! The convention centre can be re-engineered and repurposed for later construction.

  8. PCGM, 25. April 2020, 8:47

    Hel – I’m not suggesting that the council walk away from the contract, I’m suggesting they renegotiate it, exactly as Peter S proposes. Is there any reason why it couldn’t be paused for a year until the demand for conferences post-COVID is clearer, for instance? After all, spending a smaller amount of money to put the project on ice might be much cheaper than completing it, incurring the debt to pay for it, and having to subsidise it heavily from the day it opens its doors.

  9. Brian Dawson, 27. April 2020, 10:11

    Actually it was the mayor before the previous mayor who kicked off this project. The previous mayor and council inherited a plan already in motion. [via twitter]

  10. Dave Armstrong, 27. April 2020, 10:12

    Dead right. I’ve just read some of the press releases from the time of Celia. It’s going to be built by 2017 which will be great for the city. [via twitter]

  11. Morris Oxford, 27. April 2020, 10:45

    The technique described by Andrew ll, (“purposing the savings into other funding”) was used by the Justin Lester Memorial Committee as the reason for reinstating parking fees at a time when central businesses badly need extra custom. They wanted to feel-good by giving the money to their favourite charities, an example indeed of “self congratulatory behavior”.

  12. Concerned Wellingtonian, 27. April 2020, 11:45

    The 2018 Business Case is clear that consultation had never taken place on a stand-alone convention centre and there had always been a film museum or some other attraction added in order to bring in some money and make it of wider appeal.

  13. Guy M, 27. April 2020, 12:50

    Concerned Wellingtonian: you’ve no doubt spotted therefore that there is a large “exhibition space” shown at ground floor level, possibly to be run by Te Papa, as an attraction added in order to bring in some money and make it of wider appeal.

  14. Concerned Wellingtonian, 27. April 2020, 14:44

    Thanks Guy M. and sorry. I did mention ‘bringing in some money’ but I didn’t notice any income from the Exhibition Centre flooding in from Te Papa or anyone else mentioned in the Business Case. Perhaps Andy will use his connections and pull off a coup by getting the Exhibition Centre used as a Film Museum.

  15. Mike Mellor, 27. April 2020, 15:16

    Morris Oxford: the reason for reinstating parking fees was because, as Cr Sean Rush (hardly a member of the “Justin Lester Memorial Committee”!) remarked, there is no evidence that free parking would give central businesses extra custom. It would just mean ratepayers subsidising people to drive into the city, for no apparent benefit – does that seem sensible to you?

  16. Guy M, 27. April 2020, 15:40

    CW: Just saying: Free exhibitions bring more money into the city as a whole – while paying exhibitions bring less people, but more money to the provider. In that aspect, remember that we have Te Papa and Te Papa is free, unlike nearly every other institution in the country. Auckland still hates us for that.

  17. Traveller, 27. April 2020, 15:49

    Guy M: exhibitions are costly to mount and (if from offshore) the freight is also costly. Plus there are the staffing costs. If the council plans free exhibitions in the empty space, then there’ll be more substantial costs to be paid by ratepayers.

  18. PCGM, 27. April 2020, 18:53

    Guy M and Traveller – On page 63 of the business case it’s noted that “WCC will likely work in partnership with Te Papa for the Exhibition Centre operations and will carry operational risks and rewards.” So we benefit if it’s a heavily-used and financially self-sustaining venue (the business case assumes $600k net a year flowing into WCC coffers), but we’re on the hook to make up the difference if we build it and they don’t come.

  19. Pam, 12. May 2020, 17:28

    It is a disgrace that the extravagantly, probably useless (with all the media connections people can make these days) convention centre is still going ahead. Especially when we are told that bookings for the Christchurch convention centre are being cancelled – an ominous warning for Wellington. A further disgrace is the lack of action on the public library. This is an essential place in the Wellington landscape, used by an incredibly wide range of people of all ages and interests. The so-called pop-up libraries may help as a stop-gap, but there is nothing to beat a central facility available to all. To have to trot round the various places is not feasible. We need a central facility where we can search, relax, and enjoy this essential location. Internet and similar media are no substitute. Please make our central library happen again as a matter of urgency.