Wellington Scoop

Another chance for the Basin

The Mount Victoria community has been expecting consultation about roading changes around the Basin Reserve since last October. But yesterday, consultation was postponed again. The delay means there’s more time for the Architectural Centre’s innovative cut-and-cover plan (above) to get some serious consideration.

The New Zealand Transport Agency first promised that it would be “engaging with community groups and other relevant organisations from early October onwards to keep them continually briefed” on the Basin Reserve roading plans which it’s been developing for more than a year. Nothing happened at that time. A first meeting took place in December, when the locals were told that formal consultation would begin in February and would run for six weeks.

Nothing happened in February, though the Transport Agency created a section on its website where it provides background information on Basin Reserve roading but fails to mention the word “flyover” which is generally assumed to be one of the options being developed behind closed doors.

A couple of weeks ago the Agency advised that it expected to make an announcement last week on when consultation would start. But that announcement was never made. Instead, yesterday the Agency explained its reasons for a further postponement of the day when it will tell local people about its ideas for Basin Reserve roading improvements.

It wants to wait till the government has finalised the design for the War Memorial Park in Buckle Street. As everyone knows, the government seems to have agreed that State Highway One will be put underneath the Memorial Park, using a cut-and-cover trenching system.

And as we said two weeks ago, the cut-and-covered Buckle Street should continue under Tory Street – which would solve rush-hour delays at this intersection where the traffic lights satisfy no one. A bit more creative thinking and the undergrounded road could continue round the Basin Reserve, which is what the Architectural Centre proposed before Christmas.

Everyone including Mayor Prendergast was pleased when undergrounding was announced for the war memorial park. It’s a sure bet that everyone would be even more pleased if State Highway One stayed underground at the Basin Reserve. When that decision is reached, the Transport Agency can throw out the flyover plans which it has been developing for so long. And opponents of the flyover – who include Councilor John Morrison – will then be able to relax in the knowledge that Wellington’s much-loved cricket ground will no longer be threatened by high-rise traffic.


  1. Trish, 30. March 2010, 20:36

    Who are these people at NZTA? Ages ago they made a big fuss to say the Ministry of Culture was a partner in the Basin Reserve roading scheme along with the city and regional councils. So why was the option of trenching the Memorial Park not one of their consultation options, forcing them to go back to the drawing board now? Have they not been talking about each other’s preferences? Bleedingly obvious to trench through the park, I would have thought.

    So it is obvious that NZTA is struggling to think up five options to put in their consultation document. They have already said that the options will not be fully developed or studied. They are planning to fully evaluate the impacts only for the single option selected after the popularity contest. So what are they waiting for? Seriously, just publish what you have got!

  2. Foggy, 31. March 2010, 14:07

    Our mayor seems to have an unrivalled ability to back projects which are bound to fail.
    Let’s start a list of these, and update them as more come to light.
    For example: Variation 17, the Hilton Hotel on the Outer-T, V8 Race, the Wellywood sign, the School of Music on the Jack Ilott Green,
    …..and more.
    Let’s have an ongoing updated list.

  3. ViV, 31. March 2010, 17:41

    Great idea Foggy, but what about expanding it out to Wellington City Council as a whole not just Kerryanqunett’s watch. I’d be more than happy to contribute.

  4. Foggy, 1. April 2010, 8:23

    O.K., ViV and others. Let’s compile a list of all the expensive, unnecessary, hairbrained schemes, imposed on long suffering ratepayers. Cobblestone Park adjoining a certain hotel is a start. Include ratepayer-funded overseas jaunts without obvious benefit to any of us. But at least we know we are getting a hefty rates rise!

  5. ViV, 1. April 2010, 17:12

    Sesqui; golf tournament with Tiger Woods (not even in Wellington); St James Theatre (10m written off 2.5 still owed); Embassy.
    Come on others!!!

  6. Traveller, 1. April 2010, 17:35

    It’s mean-spirited to include the St James Theatre on the list of “unnecessary” council schemes. The city is a better place because this magnificent theatre was saved from demolition. Anyway: how are these lists connected with the subject of putting roads underground?

  7. ViV, 1. April 2010, 18:34

    It’s got nothing to do with being mean spirited. But as you raised it: well over half a century in Wgtn, never been to a show at the St James. Got a bunch of kids and their partners, they’ve never been there. Just contacted my neighbours, 16 bodies and they’ve never been there. Yes UNNECESSARY council expenditure. It started as a loan of $12.5m, but $10 million was written off about 7 years ago.
    Another great council investment: the Meat Works at Ngauranga Gorge. 20, 30 40 million loss.

  8. CC, 1. April 2010, 18:40

    The Marine Centre seems to be on an endless drip feed. Does anyone know what it has cost so far, including the cost of the Environment Court hearing?

  9. ViV, 2. April 2010, 8:27

    Another folly. WCC built a facility where old St Pat’s College was.
    Built for $15m. Sold for $5m.

  10. Tom, 2. April 2010, 11:14

    Let’s not forget the millions $$ that are poured into the bottomless bucket at the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary or Zealandia. The millions of $$ increase in the Indoor Sports Centre ($26m to $50+m).

    The continued commitments to projects that are yet to come home to roost – Ilott Green building, Wellington Waterfront, Water Supply Company (Capacity was supposed to save $millions).

  11. Trish, 2. April 2010, 15:16

    ViV – if you and all your rellies, neighbours and friends have never been to the St James Theatre (or the Embassy ?) why do you stay in Wellington? Tauranga has a nice climate and spends almost nothing on the arts.

    Some of us believe that public money can make the city a better and more civilised place. I strongly support the council spending on the right things, it is just that I disagree with half of it. Others might support a different half. But I do not support those who do not want anything done in this town that might affect their rates by as much as a bottle of wine per year. Better they go and live under a rock.

  12. ViV, 2. April 2010, 16:00

    Trish, why so serious. And just a point, “the right things” is subjective.

    It’s about whether a local authority should be “investing” rates monies in such things, and the millions WASTED on hairbrained or poorly thought through projects. It’s not just me or you who pays, it’s those on limited incomes, pensioners and the likes.

  13. We pay / They partay, 3. April 2010, 9:06

    Trish let’s not argue amongst ourselves. If ViV thinks St James was an unwise Council investment, then that is his opinion and I for one respect it. There is too much flaming and in-fighting on these forums… the real enemy is the monolithic local authority that spends $$$$$$ without any public oversight.

    For my part, I nominate the $30 million (or 12.5% of rates take) of bad debt the Council is carrying … or is that “funding”?

    BTW does anyone know who is the so-called business high-flyer who owes us the ratepayers big dollars? Even the initials would be good to have…

  14. ViV, 3. April 2010, 10:17

    100 and 10 per cent right.

  15. Polly, 3. April 2010, 12:14

    And let us not forget “millions” to rearrange Manners Mall. As someone who walks and buses through the city regularly, I can see little advantage and the mind boggles at the prospect of buses entering and exiting Manners and Willis Streets at the same time, as against an easy turn into Mercer, along Wakefield to Lower Cuba Street…..

    Bang goes the well established trees in Manners, wide footpaths and verandahs and guess who foots the bill, the ratepayers.

  16. ViV, 3. April 2010, 15:53

    How much for Pigeon Park and cost overruns on the tiles? And does anyone remember the pohutakawa outside the Michael Fowler Centre that was moved then replaced. The exercise cost over $60,000.

  17. The City is Ours Inc., 3. April 2010, 22:18

    We invite you to come to the Environment Court on Tuesday the 6th of April for the Battle for Manners Mall. The City Is Ours Inc vs WCC asking the Court to quash the declaration made by councillors to revoke the pedestrian status of Manners Mall. Proceedings start at 10.00am at the District Court on the 5th floor.