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New candidate for Onslow-Western ward offers ‘fresh thoughts’

Press Release: Sridhar Ekambaram
Wellington is a cute city with its compactness and easy accessibility. As an immigrant to New Zealand over 16 years ago, I preferred Wellington to Auckland for that very reason. I work in the Information technology area and am ready to provide a fresh face for the Onslow-Western ward and Wellington.

I am an environmentalist and believe in a proper balance of resource usage. We can have a good quality of life even while leading a sustainable life style.

I used to cycle commute 12-13kms each way to work and use public transport when the weather was bad. That was until I got knocked over by a 4WD and since then have switched to public transport as my primary mode of commute to work. Of course I own a car as well and use it if required, especially when the whole family has to go out.

I planted trees in the Woodridge area because I believe in maintaining bio-diversity. Since the trees were planted, the reserve now has permanent resident Tuis with several nesting pairs.

I was also involved in establishing the community vegetable garden in Newlands which is now thriving with mostly organic vegetables being grown for the community.

I have also been involved at my workplace with monitoring and improving energy efficiency, reducing waste, increase recycling and ensuring sustainable business practices.

As a fresh new councillor, my vision for Wellington is a strengthened research and development infrastructure to encourage innovation especially in the lucrative green technology area. These innovations should lead new value-adding industries with sustainable job opportunities. Obviously, the city will need an industrial park to facilitate such industries.

Overseas experience has also shown cities that attract innovators and creative people are liveable ones. Further, those liveable cities are compact, with good public transport connections and good walking and cycling facilities. Wellington is almost there.

A recent study by Otago University has found Wellington is a liveable city compared to Auckland, because of its good public transport connections and walkability and hence Wellingtonians are healthier as well. We need to build on this further and capitalise for the benefit of Wellington.

As a councillor I will push for making Wellington an even more liveable city with improved public transport connections – especially for schools. Buses to schools will reduce parents having to make car trips to drop off kids to school and then proceed to work by car thereby reduce traffic congestion. I will also push for safer cycle ways (it is in my heart). There is no need for retailers and businesses to fear that removing car parks to make way for safe cycle ways will kill their business. Again overseas experience has shown, increasing number of both pedestrians and cyclists leads to increase in personal savings and hence higher disposable / discretionary income of individuals that they could use either to pay off their debts or spend for some retail therapy.

We don’t need expensive flyovers that are not guaranteed to solve traffic congestion when we could build decent cycling facilities for a fraction of the cost and invest in improved public transport because you need to look at the bigger picture of benefits – reduced traffic congestion, reduced road maintenance cost and reduced hospitalisation costs due to cleaner air.

Protecting and improving Wellington’s green belt and biodiversity will further enhance Wellington’s liveable status.

The city also needs more community vegetable gardens covering all suburbs that will make them resilient in case of natural disasters. The city also needs more local farmers market in suburbs providing access to cheaper fresher vegetables to the communities.

If we want such a liveable city, we need a “greener” council. I will be more than happy to be one such councillor.

We need to discuss and find ways to better engage our youth to make them productive for tomorrow. Too many of our youth are becoming wayward due to lack of appropriate support and guidance when they need it most. The council can take the lead in organising facilities to guide them in the right direction. That will help them be useful citizens and make them proud of themselves as well.

Let’s look at local democracy improvement and consider a Community board for the suburbs in Onslow-Western ward especially Karori.

The Karori Town Centre needs a revamped Karori Mall – with a better shopping experience and also have the event centre sorted out.

As an immigrant from India, New Zealand is now my new home. I support diversity and believe members of all communities should be able to contribute to the betterment of Wellington. There should be good interaction between communities from different ethnic backgrounds. Immigrants like me can and do provide variety to Wellington that makes this place more interesting.

6 comments:

  1. Hayley Robinson, 17. June 2013, 2:02

    Welcome Sridhar, I look forward to meeting you.
    Hayley

     
  2. peter@southwelly, 17. June 2013, 20:55

    Sridhar Ekambaram – obviously you’re targeting the vacancy left by John Morrison ‘capturing’ the Mayoralty. Two ‘greenies’ in the Onslow-Western Ward, just remember the congestion is in the east, not in the west.
    Having said that, having further cultural diversity on the Council will be welcomed by most Wellingtonians.

     
  3. Mavis, 18. June 2013, 7:44

    Welcome Hayley and Sridhar. I look forward to meeting you.
    Mavis

     
  4. Hayley Robinson, 18. June 2013, 23:04

    I don’t think the Council could directly influence the Karori Mall, as I am certain it is commercially owned.

     
  5. Sridhar, 19. June 2013, 13:31

    Thanks Hayley and Mavis. I too look forward to meeting you too. perhaps over a cup of coffee over the weekend.

    You are right Hayley, the council can’t have direct influence on Karori Mall, but the council can work with the owners. After all that is how it was done for Johnsonville as well.

    @peter@southwelly. Haha! does sound like that doesn’t it. But no, I had been contemplating long before John Morrison even indicated his intention to run for mayor. By the way, don’t feel left out that congestion is only in east. There is congestion in west as well. I take the bus to work in the mornings and it takes twice the time to get to the CBD compared to what the same bus takes on weekends.

     
  6. Hayley Robinson, 19. June 2013, 17:31

    I like the indirect influence concept Sridhar; I would dearly love to have the Mall upgraded, though with care taken not to interrupt the businesses that currently occupy it. At the risk of lowering the conversational tone, it could use some real basics, like bathroom facilities.