Wellington Scoop

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