Wellington Scoop

Planning for growth, space, and success

by Sarah Free
A few days ago, I asked a Lyall Bay business owner what it would take for his business to grow, and his answer was swift: more space. He happens to be a successful panel beater, and that is his current pinch point.

This simple comment started me thinking about the need for really intelligent urban planning as a means to see Wellington grow. Because the reality is, I do see that if we are to succeed as a 21st Century city, and compete with the likes of Auckland and Christchurch, we do need to be planning literally for growth … more people, more jobs, more businesses and more housing … and this will take space.

Our topography, the implications of climate change, and the need to protect our stunning natural environment mean that we need the very best urban planning.

We need to maximise the use of space; provide excellent transport links (by the way, I’m still interested in light rail from the station to the zoo; if not affordable now, it may be one day), need really good IT services city-wide, need areas of quality high density housing and need precincts for certain types of businesses.

Jack Yan has suggested for example that there could be a technological precinct from upper Cuba Street down to Cambridge Terrace to help focus research and development for Wellington to create more intellectual capital and world-class products and services.

I would also like to see some more niche manufacturing in Wellington – even back on the Miramar peninsula again. Miramar has a wharf (albeit neglected) and a super-close airport. The two main reasons Wellington became the capital were because of its location in central New Zealand and its transport links (back then the port, and then railway). These are still natural strengths for Wellington.

John Key’s now infamous statement that “Wellington is dying” was a challenge to us all. He may not have any idea what to do about it, but I’m glad to say some of us do.

Sarah Free is a candidate for the eastern ward in the city council elections. This article was first published this week on her website.