Looking after the city, or looking after cricketers?

It took only one vote to reverse the Wellington City Council’s long-term opposition to a flyover alongside the Basin Reserve. But the consequences of this vote (by Andy Foster) have been sadly evident at the board of inquiry.

During the long hearing, the city council has failed to say a word in defence of the citizens and the suburbs that will be affected if the flyover is built. Instead, local people have been left to defend themselves, with no support from their council.

An example of this was reported last week.

Here is the vigorous statement from Michael Hartley on behalf of the Mt Victoria Residents Association, as reported by the DomPost:

“The roundabout at the Basin is not the problem. In fact the roundabout is a heritage item all on its own, being the hub of Wellington city providing connectivity in all directions. We should use the hub rather than slash right through it with a flyover. Building more roads is not the vision for Wellington. We are a future city….A flyover would be sterile and unpleasant and would detract from the heritage of the area and impact negatively on property values. Members of the public have repeatedly appeared to describe the “specialness” of the Basin to the city and the area. Their evidence should remove any doubt from the board’a mind about the heritage value of the Basin Reserve and its environs. Their words have been compelling.”

In contrast, the same DomPost report showed that WCC lawyer Kerry Anderson had nothing to say about a vision for Wellington. Instead, she spent her time, on behalf of the city council, defending the interests of cricketers.

The Wellington City Council and the Basin Reserve Trust both support the construction of the flyover, so long as the game of cricket could continue unaffected. Aside from that issue, the council and the trust’s support of this proposal remains, due to the overall benefits to the city’s transport network and general consistency with the strategic direction in he relevant regional and district planning documents. However, that support is contingent on a 65m long pavilion being built that would help block the flyover from the view of cricketers. The longer option was necessary to avoid visual distraction for players, and preservation of the cricket ground and its international status should be given “significant weight” by the board.

A dismal stance from the city council – expressing great concern about avoiding distraction for occasional cricket matches, but no concern at all about the long-term consequences for citizens, 24 hours a day, if a flyover is built.

Andy, what were you thinking?

Leaving it to the locals



  1. Bob, 2. June 2014, 9:47

    Residents of Wellington have dug into their own pockets to protect the commons. WCC & NZTA are paid salaries to do this work, and have limitless monies to fund the hearings. It’s a David and Goliath scale. This isn’t democracy at work.

    NZTA and WCC then want to ruin one of the last untouched rural areas in Wellington next by building an unnecessary motorway instead of building adequate park and ride facilities to allow the region’s $600m investment in commuter rail to be fully realised.

    And who is going to have to fight that just fight for commonsense & protection of the commons? The residents of Takapu Valley alone?

  2. City Lad, 2. June 2014, 13:00

    The Basin Reserve Trust initially fell into the trap of having an opportunity too good to be true without seeing the wood from the trees, or in this instance, “without seeing the flyover from the pavilion”. The thought of a way to overcome their substandard cricket facilities (not up to test requirements) with a free pavilion from the NZTA, was all that mattered to them. But no thought for the consequences of what’s at the rear of the proposed pavilion. An ugly community and heritage damaging flyover.

    No formal agreement for any pavilion has been made by the NZTA. And the Agency would not pay for the interior fitout (expensive). During 2013 the Basin Reserve Trust went ahead at their own expense, and upgraded all cricket facilities to world class standards. Good work. A pavilion is no longer necessary. Its a great pity the trust has not withdrawn support for a flyover.

    In lieu of the City Council’s continued support for a flyover, they insist that NZTA constructs a 65 metre pavilion. The council doesn’t know what there’re doing. Disgraceful!

  3. Mark, 2. June 2014, 20:17

    So we’re willing to make concessions so that a maximum of 13 players and 2 umpires don’t have to see the flyover, but to hell with the unruly masses who actually PAY for the game – they will be subject to the splendid vista, noise and pollution of stalled traffic throughout every game that’s played.
    The council should wake up and realise that there’s too much vehement opposition, and if the current peaceful methods to dislodge them from their “pro-flyover” position are unsuccessful, then we can only expect more disruptive, expensive and divisive methods to follow.
    The council are employed by the citizens to intelligently apply and invest our monies to further our interests, and this ever-ending saga is going to cost so much more before they even put down the first concrete pylon.
    Shut it down now, stop throwing good money after bad, and get on with something more practical … like Option X, maybe?

  4. Nora, 3. June 2014, 20:06

    What I find disturbing is that the Basin Trust and the City Council have made no decision on the future maintenance of the Museum Stand or the groundsman’s cottage – both I understand listed heritage buildings.

    The Vance stand could also do with some repairs and a paint job but no. It would appear top priority is accept the flyover with a promise of a new stand for players and members only, never mind the effect on our iconic sports ground considered by many as one of the ten finest in the world.

    Even Fran Wilde in a press release 17th August 2012 is quoted as saying “The Basin will always be a precious green space in the city”.

  5. Alana, 4. June 2014, 22:34

    The Wellington City Council should be embarrassed by its logical inconsistency – from the quotation “the council and the trust’s support of this proposal remains, due to the overall benefits to the city’s transport network and general consistency with the strategic direction in he relevant regional and district planning documents” and then abandoning that dedication to transport and strategic consistency to be traded off for a pathetic building to try to obstruct distraction for bowlers. The Council has ignored the majority of its residents – again. And for the difference of one council vote.

  6. City Lad, 4. June 2014, 23:39

    Nora must surely be a librarian. And if so a very good one indeed. Should send the newspaper details to the BOI. Could be the turning point even at this late stage. Fran Wilde should practice what she preaches. Green grass and a flyover? How strange for a senior rate-paid official to have supported a concrete nightmare.

  7. Nora, 5. June 2014, 12:51

    Thanks City Lad, not a librarian but a true Wellingtonian, who has lived in Auckland twice and Manila and London but Wellington is where my heart is and over many years have collected newspaper cuttings!

    Can assure you that in my written and oral submission to the Board I quoted the Fran Wilde article, adding another sentence which said “We need to make sure its special character is retained through a robust consenting process.” So it’s to be hoped the consent is rejected.


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