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Petition asks city council to keep heritage protection in Mt Victoria

councillor young receives petition [1]
Mt Victoria Historical Society committee member Phil Kelliher presents the petition to Cr Young, watched by society convenor Jo Newman.

News from Mt Victoria Historical Society
A petition calling for heritage to be protected in Mt Victoria has been presented to the Wellington City Council. Carried out over just a few weeks, the petition garnered 758 signatures.

Mt Victoria Historical Society’s convenor Jo Newman says the strong response to the petition shows heritage is highly valued and there is significant opposition to the council’s radical proposals to allow high-rise apartment blocks and townhouses to be built without sensible controls, in sensitive areas.

Jo Newman said the petition had been a way to gauge how residents really felt about proposed changes.

“As a Society, we didn’t want to make assumptions about how people feel and we also wanted to ensure they were informed about the Plan and its potential impact.”

The Mt Victoria Historical Society presented the petition, which it conducted during the Wellington City Council’s Draft Spatial Plan consultation, to Councillor Nicola Young on Wednesday. (Photo above.) A number of supporters gathered for the handover and appreciated the opportunity to talk to Councillor Young about the Draft Plan.

The petition calls on Council to retain the pre-1930s demolition restriction rule for the whole suburb. “This is the mechanism which has protected Mt Vic’s heritage for the past few decades,” Jo said.

Collecting 758 signatures from Mt Victoria alone was significant.

“The Council, for instance, says it based its Draft Spatial Plan on feedback on the Growth Scenarios it sent out for consultation in April and May 2019. They received 1,372 submissions from across the whole city for that, announcing ‘The numbers are in, you had your say, and now we know what we want for our city tomorrow.’

“But, when there are over half that number who do not agree with the Draft Plan just from Mt Victoria, we think that’s telling.”

Jo describes the experience of face-to-face petitioning as time-consuming but very rewarding.

“Most people were keen to be informed and engaged and we found that many residents – tenants as well as owners – care about the suburb’s heritage. They also believe it makes an important contribution to the character of the city.”