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Haste and secrecy: the Basin ‘masterplan’

by Tim Jones
In March we were told that the Wellington City Council was developing a Masterplan for the Basin Reserve. At that stage, the way to have input into the Masterplan was to comment on the Council’s Long Term Plan, which would in turn influence the development of a Masterplan.

But before submissions on the Long Term Plan have even closed (oral submissions are being heard next week), we have discovered that the Council has been developing the Masterplan in secret without consulting community groups or the wider community.

And this ‘business plan’ for development of the Basin Reserve is still being put forward in the absence of the reserve management plan required under the Reserves Act and commented on by the Board of Inquiry.

One day before it was due to be put to a Council committee on 21 April, a member of the community discovered that a draft Masterplan already existed. You can see it here:

http://wellington.govt.nz/~/media/your-council/meetings/Committees/Economic-Growth-and-Arts/2015/04/Economic-Growth-and-Arts-Committe1.pdf

It includes a plan to demolish the historic Museum Stand and, despite the Board of Inquiry decision, it still includes plans for a northern entrance redevelopment that read like a thinly-veiled version of the Northern Gateway Building, which was included in NZTA’s Basin Bridge proposal to hide the flyover from the ground:

This development will replace the current Players Pavilion at the eastern end of the R.A. Vance Stand. It will house player facilities that meet with ICC requirements, office accommodation for Wellington Cricket (replacing the Brierley Pavilion) and the NZ Cricket Museum. The annex will be designed to integrate with the R.A. Vance Stand and optimise the value of both buildings. The Trust envisages this development will be designed to protect the visual amenity of the view south from Kent and Cambridge Terraces. This area will not be developed until the transport issues related to State Highway 1 are resolved. (Basin Reserve Masterplan, p. 6; emphasis added)

Even worse, if you look closely at the one-page graphic which was put out for consultation with the Draft Long Term Plan, the picture shows the ‘Northern Gateway Building’ from the flyover proposal!

It seems that the Council would rather bank on the Transport Agency winning their High Court appeal than take heed of the Board’s findings on the many deficiencies of the proposed Northern Gateway Building.

While the draft Masterplan does have some good features, we are extremely concerned at the haste and secrecy with which it is being pushed through, and the lack of community consultation. The Wellington City Council has shown once again that it cannot be trusted with the future of the Basin. So once again it’s up to the community to speak up in the Basin’s defence.

Tim Jones is Co-Convenor of the Save the Basin Campaign Inc.