We had a positive, well attended meeting on Monday 18th July.
As well as a good turn-out of local Residents we also welcomed four Victoria University Landscape Architecture students, who are doing a class project on Newtown, its community and its issues, and four Wellington City Council Officers: Mike Mendonca (WCC Chief Resilience Manager), Jenny Rains (WCC Community Service Manager), Bessie Fepulea’i (Community and Neighbourhood Advisor), and Deane Virtue (WCC Team Leader Cleansing & Growth).
Newtown Coordinator position and upgrade to Newtown facilities:
Jenny Rains, WCC Community Service Manager, introduced this topic. The proposal for a new position of Newtown Coordinator within WCC came as a response to the frustrations expressed by residents at the May meeting with WCC CEO Kevin Lavery and other WCC officers. The appointee will be able to make sure the relevant WCC services are joined up to respond to Residents’ concerns. The job description is still being developed and there will be further consultation about the details.
Jenny also reported on money set aside in the WCC Long Term Plan to upgrade Newtown facilities. In this financial year (July 2016 – June 2017) there is $48,000 available to develop a concept through community engagement, and there is funding for capital projects of $610,137 in 2017/18 and $2,728,177 in 2019/20. Vogelmorn and Aro Valley are also involved in similar projects.
Mike Mendonca, WCC Chief Resilience Manager, introduced this topic.
Challenge: defining what is “Resilience”?
Mike gave a brief historical overview and moved on to outlining the main areas of concern.
- Sea level rise – what does that mean for us?
- Earthquake: probable within 50 years.
- Population growth – expecting 50,000 more people – planning needs to build in resilience.
- Housing – how can we ensure we can afford to house the expected population?
- How can Wellington look after the most vulnerable communities?
All these things are included in a report to Council -see here
The report was accepted at the WCC meeting on 29th June, and a draft Resilience Strategy is to be presented on 28 September 2016.
A number of issues were discussed, with a particular concern about securing a water supply post-earthquake. See the meeting minutes for more.
Jenny Rains, Mike Mendonca and the other Council visitors were thanked and applauded for their contributions.
Submission on the proposed Airport Runway Extension
People interested in this stayed on to discuss a draft submission prepared by Patrick Morgan.
There was no strong consensus either for or against the project – there was discussion and some approval of the economic benefits if direct long haul flights did come to Wellington, but a lot of concerns as well. These centred on the cost, the perception of a weak business case, and the effects of the anticipated increases in road traffic.
The next step agreed was for Patrick to re-draft the submission and for it to be circulated for discussion via email. The submission is due on 12th August.
2016 Newtown Festival
Martin Hanley (Festival Director) went through a written report that had been circulated at the beginning of the meeting, and thanked all who had been involved in making the Festival such a great success.