Press Release – Affordable Wellington
Phil Howison and Reagan Cutting, candidates for the Onslow-Western and Northern Wards of the Wellington City Council, today release a policy statement on behalf of Affordable Wellington on the role of suburban centres.
“Our vision is for suburban centres to be transformed into village hubs” says Northern candidate Reagan Cutting. “We believe that suburban centres in Northern and Western Wellington have been neglected for years in favour of the CBD”.
“The district plan sends the wrong message” says Onslow-Western candidate Phil Howison.
“It states that centres must be contained within existing borders in order to ‘avoid, remedy or mitigate the adverse impacts on Residential Areas’. This approach completely ignores the benefits of having vibrant centres in our suburbs. We’d like to see expanded village hubs with a mix of land uses potentially including medium density housing, retail, light commercial and community services. People should be able to live, work and play in their local communities – this approach strengthens community bonds, reduces the impact on transport infrastructure and allows more people to cycle or walk to work. Allowing a greater range of housing options will also support housing affordability.”
“Expanding the role of our town centres in Johnsonville and Karori in particular would strengthen Wellington’s resilience in the face of natural disaster” adds Reagan Cutting.
“Christchurch businesses and government agencies were able to relocate out of the CBD to a variety of village hubs. The risk for Wellington is that in the same situation we’d see businesses moving out of the city altogether, due to the shortage of office and retail space outside the central city”.
Phil Howison expands on the idea: “As part of the village hub concept, we’ll set up business forums in each centre and engage in capacity building to increase the ability of local communities to engage with the council. While some of our local centres are in need of upgrades, we should avoid the mistakes of Kilbirnie and Newtown where upgrades actually hurt local businesses with endless roadworks and loss of parking spaces. We also support reviewing the rating differential and targeting business rates according to the amount of council infrastructure and services they require – this means lower rates for businesses outside the CBD. With its proximity to the university and large educated population, Karori would be an excellent location for a new IT start-up hub, for example. We can build on the strengths of our local communities to create new destinations for the region”.
The full policy statement, “Village Hubs – A Sustainable Future for Wellington”, can be found at http://phil.howison.co.nz/site/assets/files/1/villagehubs.pdf. Affordable Wellington is a local branch of Affordable City, a nationwide grouping of local body candidates who share similar ideals of local government providing better value for ratepayers’ money.