Category Archives: News

July Meeting

The next Residents’ Association Meeting is on Monday 20th July 2015, 7.30pm at the Newtown Hall, 71 Daniell St.  Please contact us about any issues you would like on the agenda.

Do come and join in the discussion – all welcome!

News from Mt Cook 

Carol Comber, a member of the NRA Executive and also of Mt Cook Mobilised has given us this update of Mt Cook area concerns:
Basin Reserve – the Basin Reserve Trust, a council-run entity, was allocated $21m in the Long Term Plan to fund the Basin Reserve Master Plan.  The Master Plan provides funding for deferred maintenance, and some upgrades like the floodlighting. There are plans to make the Basin Reserve more attractive by creating a ‘village green’ feel, replacing the fences with wrought iron fences, and adding some plantings to link it to Memorial Park.  The Master Plan seems to imply that the heritage-listed  Museum Stand would be demolished. This is not a foregone conclusion, and an application for demolition would require a resource consent. Mt Cook Mobilised has written to the Basin Reserve Trust to suggest they create a Community Forum (like the Memorial Park Community Forum) to keep neighbouring suburbs (e.g. Mt Vic, Mt Cook and Newtown), neighbouring schools, and other interested parties, informed about work on the Basin.

Wellington High School Tennis Courts – Mt Cook Mobilised has been talking with Wellington High School about their tennis courts on Tasman Street.  The courts are not being used because they need repairs. Mt Cook Mobilised would like to see the courts being used, not necessarily for tennis.  Wellington High is keen on the idea of working with the community on this. Mt Cook Mobilised will be canvassing schools in the area and the local community to get some ideas on how people would like to see the courts used.

Flooding at Prince of Wales Park – Papawai Stream by Prince of Wales Park has been flooding, and parts of the stream bank are being gorged out with each flood.  Mt Cook Mobilised has met with Wellington Water and WCC to raise concerns, particularly about the roadway beside the changing sheds on lower Prince of Wales Park, where the stream bank consists of fill on one side, which is easily eaten away by floodwaters.  Wellington Water are working on a plan.

Report on the June meeting

The Newtown Residents’ Association met on June 15th 2015.

See the June Minutes for a full report on the meeting. These were two of the main topics:

Housing Development

Work has begun on clearing the way for a new Special Housing Development on the site of the empty warehouses between Princess, Horner and Mansfield Streets.  Two residents from Princess Terrace told of being woken at 2am on Wednesday 10 June by a large truck manoeuvring to deliver a raised show home to an empty site.  This link to a Trademe advertisement gives an impression of the houses planned – 34 units, 3 storey with 2-3 bedrooms.

Concerns brought to the meeting were: Princess Tce is the single access road and is inadequate for the expected volumes of traffic; two businesses in the area, a glass storage business and Triptych a conservation business that restores small delicate items, are likely to be impacted by the vibrations and dust during demolition and construction; two of the roofs contain asbestos; earthworks on the bank may impact on the safety and stability of surrounding houses; and there is a risk of channelled water adding to the city’s flooding.

Residents would like to open up a communication channel with the developers.

The meeting agreed that NRA would write to the WCC to support these points.

Ryman’s Tip-top Site

This Hanson St site has been sold to Ryman Healthcare for a boutique retirement village. In the meantime it is still being vandalised with graffiti, which WCC has been cleaning off. Cr Eagle said there has been no real engagement between WCC and Ryman to date.

NRA will write to Ryman asking for more information about their plans.

 

Cycling Submission

The NRA Cycling project group – set up at the NRA meeting last October – has made a comprehensive submission on the Wellington City Council Draft Cycling Network, as it applies to our area.

The Newtown Residents’ Association is very pleased that the Draft Cycling Framework recognises Newtown Berhampore and Mount Cook as a key cycling corridor from the outer suburbs.  A safe cycling corridor has the ability to transform our part of the city.

Read the submission here.

A Visit to the Mayor

On May 19th 2015 Claire Pettigrew, Rhona Carson and Jeanie McCafferty met with Mayor Celia Wade Brown with Jenny Rains from WCC and local ward councillors Paul Eagle and David Lee in attendance. We wanted to introduce our new President Claire to the Mayor and to raise a number of issues of concern to Newtown residents.

These included our desire to see improved communication with council over future consultations, work plans and other issues that may affect us in Newtown so we can better plan the Association’s work load, improve consultation in the community and ensure our volunteers are not overwhelmed with work at the last minute. We discussed being involved in the regular ward meeting with Councillors and the Mayor and also extended an invitation to the Mayor to attend a Residents Association meeting or otherwise engage with the NRA Executive to enhance communication.

We  raised our ongoing concern at the poor outcomes from the contracting out of street cleaning and that there continues to be problems with rubbish collecting, weed clearing and the effectiveness of storm water drains.

We pointed out that Newtown has not had a “spruce up” in a long time. The traffic lights and light poles needed some paint and the pavements need a water blast to clean off generations of gunk and spray painted marks.  We heard that there is a regular schedule of Asset Management programmes, and we are awaiting information on the Asset Management plan for Newtown.  The Mayor volunteered that she would be happy to see this attended to, and in particular it would be good to have Newtown looking its best before the next Newtown Festival.

Lastly we discussed a follow up to the John St Protocols. Contractors working in Newtown recently were keen to follow the protocols after they were brought to their attention. We heard from Mayor Celia that the Protocols were tabled at a Council meeting and were ‘folded into’ the Significance and Engagement Policy Paper November 2014 (available from the Council website).  It was agreed in our meeting that the council will investigate how more detailed aspects of the John St Protocols can be added to this document and included at the the procurement stage of contracts.

Theatre in Newtown

Toi Whakaari, the New Zealand Drama School, is presenting a double bill: two of the most groundbreaking plays from the German theatre scene are coming to Wellington.

Woyzeck
by Georg Büchner (1830s), adapted and directed by Jonathon Hendry, and

Pains of Youth
by Ferdinand Bruckner, 1929 (version by Martin Crimp), directed by Shane Bosher.

These plays will be on at Te Whaea: National Dance & Drama Centre, 11 Hutchison Road, from Saturday 13 June–Tuesday 23 June (no shows on Monday 15 June and Sunday 21 June): 

6.30pm – Woyzeck
8.30pm – Pains of Youth

Public matinees will be on 20 June: 12.30pm – Woyzeck, 2.30pm – Pains of Youth.

Book online or phone (04) 381 9250

WoyzeckPains of Youth

A startling script from writer Ferdinand Bruckner in 1929 titled Pains of Youth, and Woyzeck that was born in the hands of dramatist Georg Büchner in the 1830s. Both plays offer archetype stories from remarkably contemporary viewpoints. “These are two extraordinary writers and these plays were just centuries ahead of their time”, says Woyzeck’s director Jonathon Hendry, who has also adapted the unfinished play. Continue reading Theatre in Newtown

Gambling Venues Policy Submission

This is the text of our submission to WCC on this topic:

Submission on Wellington City Council Review of the Gambling Venues Policy 2010.  The Newtown Residents’ Association has been an Incorporated Society since July 1963.  We are residents and business owners from Newtown, Berhampore, Mt Cook and the surrounding suburbs, who take a keen interest in the community and local issues. We discussed this policy review at our monthly meeting on May 18th 2015. We wish to place on record our dismay at the harm caused to families in our community by problem gambling on ‘pokies’ – non-casino gaming machines. Continue reading Gambling Venues Policy Submission

The future plans for Keep Newtown Clean

At the NRA meeting on Monday 18th May our President, Claire Pettigrew, and Hine Sullivan, WCC grafitti officer, jointly presented a brief history of Keep Newtown Clean and a proposal for the future to change from a monthly clean up to having special events four times a year. This year these would start the first Saturday in September, again in December, the end of February for a special clean up before the Festival, and again the first Saturday in June.

Their talk was illustrated with a power point presentation, which you can link to here.  

The meeting agreed to welcome Keep Newtown Clean into the Association.  We are now looking for enthusiastic volunteers committed to keeping our suburb looking its best – do please get in touch if this sounds like you!

Notes about the May 2015 meeting

You will find the minutes of the meeting here.

This was a well-attended meeting, with a number of people attending especially to hear from the Salvation Army about their plans for redevelopment.

Salvation Army

Ian McLaren, TSA Property Secretary and Guy Cleverley, Architect, talked about the plans and answered questions, with input from Mark Ashby, Planning Consultant.  You will find a full account in the meeting minutes.  It was emphasised that the plans are at a preliminary stage, with many details still to be worked through.

Following the discussion a motion was put to the meeting: That the NRA supports the concept in principle, subject to consultation going forwards and to neighbours’ concerns. Proposed Tom Law, seconded Evelyn Hopkins. This was countered by a proposal from the floor – That we do not support it until we have received all the documentation.  A vote was taken for and against supporting the concept, with a majority in favour of support but a sizeable minority dissenting. We look forward to continuing consultation as the plans develop.

Keep Newtown Clean

This will be the subject of a separate post.  In brief, the NRA has been asked to bring the Keep Newtown Clean project under the Association’s umbrella, and following discussion agreed to do this.  The plan is to move from a monthly clean-up to events four times a year.  We will be looking for a volunteer co-ordinator – or group of co-ordinators.

WCC Gambling Venues Policy Review

Submissions on this policy are due on Friday 22nd May. George Darroch from the Problem Gambling Foundation spoke to the meeting about the work of the Foundation and about their observations of the harm gambling is doing to local families. Following discussion the meeting agreed unanimously that the NRA

  • Supports a ‘sinking lid’ for gaming machines
  • Supports the money from gaming trusts coming back to the community where the gaming machines are located,
  • Advocates for a gaming machine-free southern ward.

Following the meeting these resolutions formed the basis for the NRA submission to the WCC on the gambling venues policy.

The next NRA meeting will be on June 15th, 7.30pm – as usual,  at the Newtown Community Hall in Daniell St.

May 2015 Meeting

The next Residents’ Association Meeting is on Monday May 18th, 7.30pm,  at the Newtown Hall, 71 Daniell St. All welcome!

The agenda includes –

The Salvation Army are coming to discuss their plans for a new development on Normanby, Riddiford and Donald MacLean Streets. Read more about the plans… They are keen to obtain feedback and answer any questions.  This is one of the biggest property developments in our suburb for many years, and the discussion should be of interest to all in Newtown.

The Gambling Venues Policy review closes at 5pm on Friday 22 May.  We will be discussing the issue, and hope to have the input of a Council Officer familiar with the topic.  We will then be looking to form a small group to work quickly to write a submission based on our discussion.  If you are interested, please come – or please let us know by emailing on newtownwellington@gmail.com

Discussion on the future of Keep Newtown Clean.

If you have other items, or questions, please email us, as above.

Newtown Library Temporary Closure, 13th May till 22nd July 2015

The Newtown Library in Constable Street is being refurbished!

The WCC website says:

“Newtown Library will be temporarily closed for scheduled maintenance and upgrades.

The library will be closed from 13th May 2015 until 22nd July 2015 inclusive.

Newtown Library was built approximately 25 years ago and requires scheduled maintenance and upgrades. Contractors will be replacing the skylights, installing heating systems, ventilation systems and efficient lighting. Interior painting and replacing vinyl will be done at the same time.

Newtown library

Wellington City Libraries are providing these services for our Newtown Library customers during this time:

  • Free shuttle between Newtown and Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) libraries Monday to Friday
  • Reserves available for collection from Smart Newtown
  • Issue periods extended for the duration of the closure
  • Return fees waived for books returned to other libraries
  • More seating and newspapers available at Ruth Gotlieb Library (Kilbirnie)
  • Access to our 24/7 online services

We encourage you to “stock up” from May 1st to take advantage of the extended loan period. You can stay updated about the project through updates to this page, the WCC call centre (499 4444), and our Facebook and Twitter updates.

If you have any questions or require further information about the closure please contact Andrea Thomas or Sharon Macintyre by phoning 830 1255 or emailing enquiries@wcl.govt.nz.”

Submission to the Wellington City Council on the Long Term Plan

The NRA President and Secretary – Claire Pettigrew and Rhona Carson – made an oral submission to the Council on 5th May 2015, to back up the written submission the Association put in earlier.

We spoke about concerns about Council services – e.g. rubbish, drainage etc.  There was a report in the Dominion Post the next morning about the hearings in which we got a mention – quote: “Big ideas were fine, but the basics had to be working first, President Claire Pettigrew said.”
We also asked the WCC to continue to support the Newtown Festival, and were encouraged by the affirmation from the Chair that  “The Newtown Festival is already an iconic Wellington event”.

Salvation Army new building development

You may have heard that the Salvation Army are planning to redevelop the block bordered by Normanby St, Riddiford St and Donald McLean St – with the exception of the property on the corner of Donald McLean St housing the TAB and Le Manaia (which was the Zoo Bar) and the Mission for Youth building in Donald McLean St.  The plan is to have all their services in one place – and to sell their present properties in Constable St, Rintoul St and Riddiford St North.
The NRA Executive and others were invited to see and discuss the plans on 22/4/15, and the developers explained that
  • The building will be 2 stories tall, with graduated heights along Normanby St, so that it eases in from residential houses to the facility.
  • It will comprise of:
    • main hall
    • community ministries/drop in centre
    • family store
    • addiction treatment
    • early education centre
  • It is intended to be a mixed-use project that also works as a community facility (i.e. meeting room/hall hire).
  • The hall will be in the middle, with other rooms all around and large amounts of glass so people can see in and see the activity, giving a sense of vibrancy to that block.
  • 36 carparks will be accessed from Donald MacLean St.

In order to achieve this the plan is to demolish the existing buildings on the block.  As well as the little shops and cafes on Riddiford St the Salvation Army

  • Intend to pull down 2x pre1930s buildings on Donald MacLean St (currently converted into garages) – no restriction as this zone is classed commercial.
  • Intend to pull down 4x pre1930s buildings on Normanby St (currently 3 rented, 1 uninhabitable) – one has no restriction as is classed as commercial, but the other 3 will require consent as they are classed residential.

They have accepted an invitation to come to the Resident’s Association meeting on 18th May to explain the plans to a wider audience.

To have a look at the areas affected follow this link to the google satellite map of the streets concerned.

Notes of the April 2015 Newtown Residents’ Association Meeting

Long Term Plan

The draft submission was discussed and agreed, with some comparatively minor amendments.

 Keep Newtown Clean

David Wilcock gave an overview of starting KNC because since WCC street cleaning services were contracted out standards had declined. Things have improved with a new contractor – David and other NRA members met with the contractor recently. However there is no proactive monitoring of cleanliness – people report concerns to WCC and the contactor responds. The WCC “Fix-it” app is the easiest way to do this.

At present the monthly KNC clean-up sessions are on hold while the future of the project is considered.

There was a lively discussion with many meeting attendees unhappy with the state of Newtown’s streets and public spaces. An ‘audit of cleanliness’ was suggested to record the jobs that need doing.

The bollards used for posters were discussed – these were provided as a public facility but later Phantom Billstickers were given the rights to use them. As a result posters for local events can’t get put up there – it was suggested that we attempt to get at least some of them back for local use.

 Cycling

Effie Rankin talked of observing many cyclists disobeying road rules – eg riding on foothpaths, riding across pedestrian crossings and through red lights. She advocated better cyclist education about the road rules and better enforcement. Again a vigorous discussion – centering on whether motorists or cyclists are the most frequent offenders! However there was general agreement that all need to follow the road code.

Tom Law reported that progress on cycleways is halted until the WCC have done more work on a Wellington-wide strategy.

 John Street Protocols

Jeanie McCafferty talked with roading contractors recently and discovered that they had never heard of the protocols, but were interested to read them and liked them. Jeanie would like to take if further with Council and get the protocols in common use – met with general approval. [The John St Protocols were developed during the building of the Countdown Supermarket in John St.]

 Caltex site

Chevron have now put the site in South Riddiford St up for tender, agent Baileys, closing in May. David Wilcock suggested that Council require public parking be provded as part of any new development.

Next Meeting Monday 18th May 2015, 7.30pm

April Meeting

The next Residents’ Association Meeting is on Monday, 20th April, 7.30pm at the Newtown Hall, 71 Daniell St. All welcome!

We will be discussing the Residents’ Association submission on the WCC Long Term Plan – a group is currently working on this.  Submissions are officially due on Friday 17th April, but we have been allowed an extension until after this meeting.  Click here to read the NRA Draft Submission. If you won’t be at the meeting on Monday please email us with any comments.

If you have other items you would like on the agenda please let us know – newtownwellington@gmail.com.