All posts by R.C.

About the Proposed District Plan

Update – September 14th

We submitted the Newtown Residents’ Submission on the Proposed District Plan on Monday 12th September. Here is a copy.

This plan, which is open for submissions until Monday September 12th, is the penultimate stage of the creation of a new District Plan for Wellington. The final stage will come next year when the hearings about the submissions have concluded and the District Plan Hearings Commissioners have reported back to Wellington City Council. After the resolution of any appeal processes the PDP will become the operative District Plan. It is important to note that submitters have no right of appeal to the Environment Court on parts of the plan related to housing intensity, and it is expected that these will be in force by the end of 2023.

From 2017-2019 there were the Our City Tomorrow and Planning for Growth consultations, which led to the conclusion that the city should grow ‘up not out’ – that is, increased density in the inner city. We were in agreement with this, and have long advocated for increasing density along the ‘growth spine’ of Adelaide Rd and Riddiford St.

The draft Spatial Plan was developed in 2020, which led to the final Spatial Plan in 2021 and the draft District Plan towards the end of 2021. The push for increased density was given extra momentum when the Government released the National Policy Statement on Urban Development in 2020 (NPS-UD) which decreed that City Councils in ‘tier 1’ cities must enable at least 6 storey developments within ‘walkable catchments’ of the edge of the centre city and town centre zones, as well as from the stops on mass rapid transit routes. All of the subsequent plans allowed for wide spread high density developments in inner city suburbs, including Newtown, Mt Cook and Berhampore.

These requirements for intensification were extended further when the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2021 added the rule that 3 houses of 3 storeys can be built on any section, so long as the total coverage is no more than 50%.

The only decision making powers that local councils have about these Government directives is that there can be ‘qualifying matters’, which are described in clauses 3.31, 3.32 and 3.33 of the NPS-UD, found on p26 of this PDF of the Policy. Qualifying matters allow Councils to modify the required building height or density. Wellington City Council has agreed to do this by designating ‘character precincts’ where a resource consent would still be required for the demolition of pre-1930s dwellings and new building heights are restricted to 11m – i.e. 3 storey buildings. Auckland City Council is also considering including other matters, such as view shafts and significant ecological areas, but they are still at an earlier stage of their District Plan process.

There has been considerable debate in Council about the extent of the character precincts and the extent of the ‘walking catchments’. Another contentious issue is whether or not the Johnsonville train counts as ‘mass rapid transit’; most recently the Council decided that it doesn’t, because of its limited single track capacity. The Proposed District Plan contains the final decisions of WCC about these matters. In the current operative District Plan all pre 1930s dwellings in inner city suburbs need a resource consent for demolition, and in the PDP the ‘character precincts’ reduce this to less than 30% of the previous protections. Elsewhere demolition is permitted and the allowed building heights are 21m – i.e. 6 storeys – or, for those areas of Newtown and Berhampore that are outside the ‘walkable catchment’, 14m – i.e. 4 storeys. The walkable catchment in the Draft District Plan was 15mins walking, which was reduced to be 10mins in the PDP. If or when Lets Get Wellington Moving decides on mass rapid transit through Newtown to Island Bay the ‘walkable catchment’ will also be measured from the MRT stops, increasing the area of the high density zones.

We expect that there will be a variety of submissions on the PDP, both to increase and to decrease both the character precincts and the walking catchments – depending on whether the submitter wants to maximise the land available for development, or believes that it is possible, with good planning, to create enough new developments to meet the housing need for the foreseeable future without allowing random developments through the whole area.

The Newtown Residents’ Association is in the latter camp. Ever since the NPS-UD was released we have been saying that this is a blunt instrument that doesn’t take local conditions into account. The amount of land that has been designated for high or medium density development is deliberately much bigger than is actually necessary, with some suggestions that only 14% of this land will actually be developed. This isn’t good news for the existing community, as this leaves 86% of the neighbourhood severely compromised. 4-6 storey developments amongst low rise homes will inevitably have damaging effects on existing homes, due to dominance, loss of privacy, loss of sunlight, and wind effects. We have made several submissions about this during the various iterations of the plan, with almost no effect. However there was one matter which the Council agreed to, and that is to have some shade protection for open space parks, such as Carrara Park and Mercy Park.

It is important to know that we are not against increasing housing and housing density. Instead we are for planning about where well designed multi unit developments are best situated. There are some good examples of this among the housing provided by Wellington City Council and Kāinga Ora – the 8 storey Newtown Park Apartments are in a good position, the Regent Park Apartments are exemplary and the new Kāinga Ora development being built in Owen St fits well into its environment. There was a whole plan developed by local architects Red Design demonstrating how 2,000+ new homes could fit within the Newtown suburban centre, which has been described previously in this website – see here – this entry also includes a link to our original 2019 submission to Planning for Growth, when we were a lot more optimistic about planned development. It could be contrasted with our most recent submission to the Draft District Plan.

We will submit to the PDP along the same lines as our previous submissions. This time, for the hearings next year, we will be gathering evidence and expert witnesses to back up our concerns. It is important to make submissions about aspects of the plan which you approve of, as well as those you would like to change, so we will be in favour of continuing character precinct protections and the reduced walking catchments. We also think the shade protection for open space parks mentioned above, which is found in the PDP section on standards for high Density Residential Zones – standard SR3.4 – needs strengthening so that it doesn’t just apply to buildings directly adjacent to a Park – buildings across the street can also cast a lot of shade.

The Wellington City Council web page about the Proposed District Plan is extremely informative and gives a lot of information about how to make a submission. There is a particular format to follow so look at this carefully. There is also access to a free independent planner who will answer your questions and can assist with your submission. Contact Friend of submitter, Emily Bayliss, at friendofsubmitters@wcc.govt.nz or call 027 803 0080.

For visual aides to understanding the Proposed District Plan there is a recorded webinar on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6FS84DPHkU
and also a slide show, originally a presentation to LIVE WELLington by Adam McCutcheon from Wellington City Council.

Remember – you only have until 12 September to make your submission.

Meet the Candidates: 2022 Local Body Elections

The Newtown Residents’ Association has organised two local body election meetings – one for the Greater Wellington Regional Council candidates on Tuesday 13th September and a joint one for Paekawakawa/Southern Ward and Te Whanganui-a-Tara Māori Ward candidates on Monday 26th September.  In past years we have served supper at these meetings but this year we are making an extra effort to minimise the risks of Covid infection, so we are forgoing supper and we are encouraging attendees to keep wearing masks!

These meetings are an opportunity to put faces to the names of candidates and hear their thoughts about why you should vote for them. Voting papers are being posted from September 16th, and need to be submitted by midday on Saturday October 8th – either by post or dropped in to one of the specially marked ballot boxes – see https://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/elections/2022-elections/information-for-voters/how-to-vote for voting details, including how to make a special vote if you need to do this.

Tuesday 13th September 2022, Meet the Candidates for the Greater Wellington Regional Council – Salvation Army Hall, 4 Normanby St, Newtown. Doors open at 6.30pm, meeting starts at 7pm sharp. Patrick Morgan will be facilitating. There are 12 people wanting to represent Wellington on the Greater Wellington Regional Council, with 5 seats available. How will you know who to vote for? Come to our meeting, put faces to the names and hear what they propose to do if elected.

What does the GWRC do? If you want a better bus or train service, clean drinking water, effective flood protection and emergency services, then this is the Council responsible! See https://www.gw.govt.nz – and here for the list of candidates –https://elections.gw.govt.nz/candidates/ Click on each name to read about the person.


Monday 26th September 2022, Meet the Candidates for the Wellington City Council Paekawakawa/Southern Ward and Te Whanganui-a-Tara Māori Ward – Salvation Army Hall. 4 Normanby St, doors open at 6.30 pm and meeting starts at 7.00pm sharp. Robin Payne will be facilitating.  There are 10 people standing for 2 Paekawakawa/Southern Ward seats, and 3 for 1 Te Whanganui-a-Tara Māori Ward seat.

You can see all the candidates for Wellington City Council here –https://wellington.govt.nz/…/info…/candidate-information . Click on a person’s name to find out more information about them.

As yet we haven’t organised a meeting for Mayoral Candidates. There are so many Ward candidates to hear from that we decided not to try and add the Mayoral candidates to the same meeting.

One alternative possibility is a meeting on 5th September, 6-7.30pm at St Peters Church in Willis St, organised by Inner City Wellington, where Paul Eagle, Andy Foster and Tory Whanau will be speaking- Here’s the Eventbrite link.

Another possibility is the ‘It’s in the Ballot’ Mayoral Candidates Meeting, September 7th 6.30-9.30pm. ‘It’s in the Ballot’ is a spin off of the TV Show, It’s in the Bag, where the Candidates pick boxes and answer the questions inside the sealed boxes. The show is broadcast live, on Facebook, Youtube and Twitch, and you can also attend in person at Khandallah Town Hall & Cornerstone Community Centre

See https://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/elections/2022-elections/information-for-voters/candidate-events/community-candidate-events for more events, including an ‘It’s in the Ballot’ show for Paekawakawa/Southern Ward on 18th September 6.30pm, online or at Te Whaea – National Dance & Drama Centre – Rm D10

Notes from the August 2022 meeting

This meeting was held at the Community Lounge at St Thomas’s Church on Monday 15th August. These are notes from the discussion, see below for the full minutes.

WCC Waste Minimization Plan

WCC has a Draft Waste Management and Minimisation Action Plan. The expectation is that WCC will set up a working party about this, we are waiting to hear more.  We are interested to hear from people who would like to be part of this consultation.

‘Meet the Candidates’ Meetings

Greater Wellington Regional Council has 12 candidates, there are 9 candidates for Mayor,  Paekwakawa / Southern Ward has 10 candidates and the Māori Ward 3 candidates.

GWRC candidates are not invited to as many meetings as City Council candidates, but the issues GWRC are involved in have a big impact – e.g. public transport, LGWM, Wellington Water. The meeting agreed that a separate meeting for GWRC was a good idea; potential dates are 12th or 13th September.

We agreed to inviting Paekawakawa/Southern General Ward & Te Whanganui-a-Tara Māori Ward candidates to a meeting on 26th September, but were undecided about having the Mayoral candidates as well because of the large number of people that would be involved. There might be options for a separate meeting with the Mayoral candidates, or for attending one of the other meetings in the city. Sam Somers has organised an online ‘Its in the Ballot’ meeting for Mayoral candidates on September 7th.

It was decided that we would not have supper at the meetings as that would increase the Covid risk.

Picking up Rubbish

Rachel introduced the plan to organise an event in Newtown as part of Clean Up NZ week (17-23 September). The Sustainability Advisor at Wellington Hospital has approached us about a joint event the Hospital staff could take part in. Friday 23rd September is suggested as a day that would suit them. 

Rachel is willing to carry on with the organising, further details TBA.

Transport issues

Cycleway Consultation – this has restarted, following the resolution of the court injunction. Proposed changes:

  • At the corner of Riddiford Street and Mein Street, to continue the cycleway along the left hand side of the street and remove car parks outside Newtown School so cyclists can go straight ahead. This will need changes to traffic lights and phasing so cyclists and left turning cars don’t collide.
  • Cycle speed at the entrance to the hospital car park can be an issue.
  • The area where the bus lane ends and three lots of traffic merge needs adjustment.

Submissions are due by 31st August. It’s expected that the Councillors will make a decision on 15th September, and if approved work will start a couple of weeks after that.

‘Reshaping Streets’ – Waka Kotahi has opened consultation on proposed changes to legislation to make it easier for local authorities (like councils) to make street changes that support public transport, active travel and placemaking. Submissions are due on September 19th. See https://www.nzta.govt.nz/about-us/consultations/reshaping-streets-consultation for more information.

Streets for People Announcement:  on Tuesday 6th September at 10.30am there will be a celebration at Newtown School as the Hon Michael Wood announces the councils (including Wellington) who have been selected for funding for transport changes. 

Wellington Water

There is continuing concern about the fluoridation issues.

There was a discussion about management of the organisation.

  • This is a long-standing issue
  • Perhaps there is a link between earthquakes and increased water leaks.
  • Wellington City Council is trying to improve mapping of pipes, creating a Digital Twin using some ‘Better Off Funding’.  The city is also using this fund to support social housing and other things.

Special Awards

Cr Fleur Fitzsimons noted that Association President Rhona Carson has recieved an Absolutely Positively Wellingtonian award for her work with the Association, Newtown Festival, and other community work.  Rhona was congratulated by the meeting attendees, and responded with thanks.  She noted that six present or past executive members of the Association have received these awards over the years: Martin Hanley (twice!), Anna Kemble Welch, James Coyle, Peter Frater, Rhona, and Tom Law who was also recognised for his many community contributions at the ceremony last week.

Proposed District Plan Consultation

There are accessible presentations about the Plan on the Council Website.

A planner at the library drop-in consultation was asked about limitations to building because of inadequate infrastructure, and said that Newtown will be a high priority for pipe upgrades.

There is one more month to get submissions in. Further opportunities to discuss submissions will be considered.

 Brief Notes about the July 2022 meeting

These were some of the topics dicussed. See below for a link to the full minutes.

Meet the Candidates meetings

We will be holding a meeting (or meetings) for local body election candidates at the Salvation Army Hall in September. We are waiting to see how many candidates there are, and whether we split into separate meetings for the Mayor, WCC Paekawakawa/Southern Ward and GWRC or try for some combination. 

Workingmens Bowling Club site, Owen St

Jane Patterson (NRA Vice President) outlined progress on plans for community use of the site. The Sustainability Trust made a successful funding application on behalf of the community based Owen St Project Group to engage a facilitator for wider community consultation, and Anne Cunningham was appointed. There has been a meeting with WCC Officers to discuss a way forward, which Jane attended, and the Council are expected to call for expressions of interest from potential users about the end of July. Cr Laurie Foon thanked the community for their initiative in progressing this project.

Proposed District Plan 

Submissions on the PDP are open until Monday September 12th. This statutory consultation process is more complex than making the usual submissions to WCC . There are details on the WCC website. 

WCC passed an amendment to the PDP designed to protect sunlight on Carrara Park and other open space Parks. Cr Laurie Foon was one of the Councillors in favour of this, and will make further enquiries about the details of how this works.

Reclamation of Town Belt area 

Carol Comber outlined a plan to rejuvenate some tracks on town belt land in Mt Cook, known as Gum Gully – near Brooklyn Rd and  the boundary with Brooklyn. The ‘Gum Gully Working Group’ want to apply for funding from WCC to buy tools to enable more people to volunteer to work on this. 

The meeting supported Newtown Residents’ Association being an umbrella organisation for this application. 

Newtown Festival followup 

Rhona advised that the Newtown Festival team applied to the Ministry of Culture and Heritage for funds to compensate people who had been booked for the 2022 Festival and lost income because it was cancelled. This was successful and the Festival is now busy paying a range of people – from artists, to production crew and infrastructure providers. The meeting attendees congratulated both the Festival team and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage for this positive outcome.

Planning is underway for the 2023 Festival, in the hope that this will be able to go ahead without further interruptions.

Wellington Heritage Week, 24th October- 6th November

There was discussion about arranging a Newtown History tour for Heritage Week.

Newtown Culture and Community Centre progress 

It is hoped that the work will be finished in November but it might be delayed. NCCC has received a $250,000 Lotto grant towards the theatre equipment – we were one of the groups supporting what was a successful application. 

Notes from the June Meeting

The monthly meeting was on June 20th at the City Mission/St Thomas’s Community Lounge.

Mass Rapid Transit through Newtown

The main topic was a presentation from Daran Ponter, Chair of the Greater Wellington Regional Council, on Let’s Get Wellington Moving, and in particular on the potential impact of Mass Rapid Transit through Newtown.

All four LGWM options have MRT through Newtown. Daran is keen to get this message to the community because LGWM will have very broad impacts. More road space will be required to make room for a MRT route as well as car, bus and cycle lanes. This potentially includes the removal of the historic shops at the Adelaide Rd and Riddiford St intersection as it would be hard for mass transit to use that intersection as it stands.

See the full minutes for more about the discussion, and the LGWM website https://lgwm.nz/all-projects/mass-rapid-transit/#e661for more about the project.

Alistair Henshaw – Predator Free Wellington, on moving into Newtown more intensively. 

Alistair described how the project to eradicate pests started in Miramar with great co-operation from local people, and how the team are now moving into the Southern suburbs. Progress has been made in Island Bay, and Newtown is next.

They need about 7000-10,000 ‘permissions’ from residents to place very safe bait stations to target rats and mustelid eradication. See https://www.pfw.org.nz

The Proposed District Plan

Hilary Watson (Newtown RA Executive member) outlined the next steps. The Proposed District Plan will be voted on by the WCC Pūroro Āmua/ Planning and Environment Committee on June 23rd. When it’s approved the proposed plan will be notified and there will be 6 weeks for public submissions between July and September. Hearings will be at a later date – expected to be early next year.

The June 23rd meeting is a final opportunity for Councillors to make amendments to the plan before it is notified. There was agreement at the meeting that Newtown Residents’ Association continues to support it’s previous submission and calls on the Council to reinstate the character areas as recommended by Council officers for inclusion in the Spatial Plan. We do support intensification and welcome additional residents to Newtown, but feel this should be managed and planned primarily along the main spine of the suburb. 

Notes from the May Meeting

Brief Notes from the Newtown Residents’ Association Meeting, Monday 16 May 2022 – see below for the full minutes.

This meeting was held in person, for the first time in 2022. The venue was the Wellington City Mission/St Thomas’s Community Lounge, and we are very grateful to be able to use this space.

There was a comparatively small attendance, with many apologies because the meeting was being held on Easter Monday.

In Memory

The meeting took a moment to remember Effie Rankin who passed away in March, aged 94, and was to be farewelled with a service at the Salvation Army on Wednesday 18th May.  People shared memories of Effie, who  continued attending Association meetings into her early 90s.

Arthur Winther, long time Newtowner who passed away in April, was also remembered.

Alcohol Harm Reduction Project

Rhona Carson (Association President) welcomed Kate Collyns, the Community Champion at Wellington and Hutt Valley Community Law for the Alcohol Harm Reduction Project. 

Kate outlined the background and current work of the Project. The Community Law Centres nationally have funding to coordinate responses to liquor licence applications, and they aim to work with communities who want to stand up for their wellbeing by engaging with the alcohol licensing process to oppose unethical and predatory businesses from getting alcohol licences.

Kate is interested in considering family and social harm from alcohol, in addition to health issues commonly raised.  These factors can all be raised in a submission.

The presentation was followed by discussion of a number of associated issues. 

It was agreed that, as far as we know, there are no current problems with the licensed premises in Newtown. We have been involved with objections to licence applications in the past, particularly for new off-licences. In general we haven’t objected to licence applications from the local bars and cafes.

It was noted that the Salvation Army and Police are strong supporters of objectors in Newtown.

Kate summarised her offer to help anyone who wants to object to a licence application.  She can be contacted through the Residents’ Association or Community Law.

The meeting thanked Kate for coming to talk with us.

There were brief comments on a number of other issues, including

Thank you to all the helpers at the “Wiggle for Wellbeing” free concert in Carrara Park on May 14th, and congratulations to James Cottrell of Origin Events for a successful event. The concert was supported by Newtown Festival and Wellington City Council, and our Association ran a free sausage sizzle. Particular thanks to Newtown New World for supplying the food, and to Jared Corston from WCC who spent all afternoon on the BBQ.

Is there a Newtown Police Officer? Yes, Sergeant Mike Byrne and Constable Bede Gugliemoni, based in Kilbirnie, work extensively in Newtown.

Workingmen’s Bowling Club Site in Owen St: Funding of $1.5 million for developing this site was agreed by Wellington City Councillors at a meeting on Feb 3rd but didn’t appear in the draft Annual Plan.  Our ward Councillors will pursue getting the funding added to the 2022/2023 WCC Budget.

Notes from the April Meeting

We met on 18 April  2022,  via zoom.

These are brief notes of the main items discussed; see below for a link to the full minutes.

Local Body Elections & Proposed Meet the Candidates meetings

Nominations for Mayor, Councillors and Greater Welllington Councillors  open on 15th July and close on 12th August, so we won’t know till then how many candidates there are.  The number of nominations will impact the number of meetings required – eg if the numbers are quite low we could combine Mayor, Council and GWRC in the same meeting, but last election we needed separate meetings for each of these so everybody could have time to speak. We will plan to have meetings around the end of August, beginning of September – voting papers will be sent out from 16th September, and voting closes on 8th October.

Sam Somers introduced ‘It’s In The Ballot’.  This was trialled at the last elections and it involves meetings with candidates, broadcast on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.  Random questions are selected in the style of ‘Its In The Bag’.  Sam has got a group together to help run these meetings for the coming elections and intends to have shows for all wards and all Councils in the GWRC area.  

Update from the WCC Cycle Team about the transitional bike path from Mein St to the city

Jane Patterson outlined the history of this, then introduced the Council officers Bri Peters, Claire Pascoe and Vida Christeller who had come in on a public holiday to korero with us.

There had been a petition presented to Council to delay the start of the cycleway trial for more consultation, but at the Council meeting on 14th April the Councillors voted 10-4 against delaying the trial and 14-0 in favour of a number of other proposals. [*Note – an extract from the Council meeting minutes is copied at the end of the minutes.]  Because of this the work on creating the bike path was about to start; see the minutes for more details.

The formal consultation will start after the bike path is operational, so people can give feedback on how it works in practice.

Forthcoming consultations and requests for submissions:

WCC Economic Wellbeing Strategy

  • Submissions are due on 25 April [later postponed till 1st May].
  • Rhona Carson outlined some parts
    • The Strategy states that Cultural, Social, Economic and Environmental factors should be taken into account for well being.
    • There are six outcomes being targeted: Sustainable business and career pathways, Circular Economy, Business friendly city, Centre of Creativity and digital innovation, celebration of our capital city status, Dynamic city heart and thriving suburban centres.  These are all good aims, but the concrete actions on how these outcomes might be met are less obvious.
  • Rhona asked anyone interested to read the strategy and put forward ideas for a possible submission from the Association. 

WCC 2022-23 Annual Plan

There are two major changes from the Longterm Plan that Council wants feedback about – the future funding of Council housing and the future of the Southern Landfill.

Council Housing 

  • The Council has put forward 2 funding options – continue with Council ownership and management of the housing, or set up a Community Housing Provider (CHP) to take it over. There are 3 options for a CHP – Council sells its housing to the CHP, the CHP leases the housing and is responsible for tenancies, repairs and maintenance – this is the WCC preferred option, or the CHP leases the housing, manages tenancies and minor repairs but Council manages major maintenance.

Landfill Options

  • New landfill on the current site.
  • Build a huge incineration plant.  This requires a minimum amount of waste, which conflicts with our waste minimisation policy.
  • Close the landfill and send waste to the Hutt or Porirua.

There was support at the meeting for building a new landfill on the current site.

James noted the private landfill at Happy Valley which takes most demolition waste from the city, and the risk of pollution from this site. 

Other matters in the 2022-23 Annual Plan

There are a few other changes from the long-term plan, including  funding for Khandallah Pool, but not the funding allocated to the Workingmen’s Club site. There are also some proposed increases to encroachment fees and changes to other Council charges.

Submissions about the Annual Plan are due by 15th May. People who would like to be involved in discusssions about submissions are invited to make contact on newtownwellington@gmail.com.

The Ministry for the Environment Consultation on Transforming Recycling

Submissions on Transforming Recycling are due by 8th May. People who would like to be involved in discussions about submissions are invited to make contact on newtownwellington@gmail.com.

Notes from the March 2022 Meeting

The Newtown Residents’ Association Meeting 21 March 2022 took place on zoom.

These are a few of the issues discussed.

Plogging

Rhona Carson, Association President, introduced Rachel Bolstad, who organised a successful ‘plogging’ (Picking up Litter while JOGGING) outing on March 6th, picking up rubbish on Newtown streets. This was motivated by Michelle Stronach-Marsh who is organising this regularly on Petone Beach. Michelle helped with organisation and providing specialised equipment in the form of pick up sticks (long handled tool for gripping small objects). About a dozen people came for about 90 minutes. They set out from Carrara Park and picked up about eleven large bags of rubbish.
There was a general discussion about the history of the Association’s support for Keep Newtown Clean (now discontinued), and how Plogging could be made a regular event.

Cycling

Patrick Morgan outlined the decisions made at the Council meeting of 10 March, which approved all the secondary streets noted in the Paneke Pōneke – Bike network plan and also added several more streets which had been suggested during the WCC Consultation last year. The transitional bike path from Mein St along Riddiford St to Adelaide Rd and onwards to the city had already been approved and was due to be implemented in April.

Brian Dawson, from Paul Eagle’s office, relayed information from businesses in Riddiford St North and Adelaide Rd who were objecting to the lack of consultation about losing the parking and loading zone near the Adelaide Rd intersection. He and MP Paul Eagle had an appointment to discuss this with the Council.  Martin Hanley referred to the “John St Protocols” drawn up in 2013 when the impact of construction of the Countdown Supermarket had very damaging effects on the businesses there, noting how disappointing it was that these same businesses were being affected now. Cr Laurie Foon asked for a copy of this agreement, and outlined the work that is being done by Council Officers to find mitigation for the negative effects. Marion Leighton articulated the views that support the Council position of going ahead with the current plans.

Further discussion of proposals for the future use of the ex-bowling club in Owen St

This is a ‘developing story’.  Rhona described a meeting, organised by ReBicycle, of a number of community groups who discussed potential uses that would be in line with the Council’s stated plans for the site. Attendees at that meeting noted that there were other members of the community not represented and were looking into how to facilitate wider representation. Cr Laurie Foon agreed that it is a good idea for the community to come forward with ideas for use.

WCC Consultations 

Rhona reminded attendees of the Council Open Spaces and Recreation survey closing April 8th and the Economic Wellbeing  Strategy consultation, open till 25th April.

Welcome to Nureddin Abdurahman 

Rhona thanked Nureddin (recently announced as a WCC Paekawakawa/Southern Ward candidate on the Labour Party ticket) for coming to our meeting. He introduced himself, describing how he got involved in the community.

Work on the interim Bike Path from Newtown to the Waterfront starts soon.

See our December post for the background to this development.

This is an excerpt from a recent letter from the WCC Transport Project –

“We’re going to start some work adjacent to the intersection of John Street, Adelaide Road and
Riddiford Street very soon, and wanted to give you notice that this will be happening.

The existing pedestrian kerb extension near 7 Riddiford Street (Our General Grocer) is to be
removed. This will create space to help make this very busy intersection safer for people on bikes.
This and other changes at intersections along Adelaide Road are being made now to pave the way for the installation of a safer bike route between Newtown and the waterfront in a few months’ time. You can read more about this project at transportprojects.org.nz/newtown. More information will be available and shared in coming weeks.
As part of doing the preliminary work at this intersection, we’ll also:
• reposition the adjacent traffic signal pole and lights
• put in a new pedestrian kerb ramp and tactile pavers.
Work is expected to start in the week beginning 21 February, and weather depending, will take about 2 weeks.

Draft District Plan submissions are now due 17th December

Update – today, 14th December 2021, we submitted the Newtown Residents’ Association submission on the Draft District Plan – see below. We also heard that WCC have extended the deadline for submissions to 5pm 17th December. The Draft District Plan link is no longer to be found on the “Consultations and Engagements” page but if you go straight to https://planningforgrowth.wellington.govt.nz/district-plan-review there is a note saying “If you can’t get your submission in on time, we have a grace period until 5pm Friday 17th December.”

On the WCC Website you will find information about the DDP, and also helpful videos about how to read and understand the plan and about how to make a submission. There is a also a Friend of Submitters service provided by the Council, to remove barriers and foster participation in the District Plan review process. Emily Bayliss is a qualified planner who is fully independent and has had no involvement in developing the Draft District Plan, and she can help you make your submission. A brief introduction from Emily is available here.  To contact her for assistance please email friendofsubmitters@wcc.govt.nz or phone 027 803 0080.

If you are familiar enough with the Draft District Plan to know which provisions you particularly want to pay attention to you can either comment directly on the e-plan or in an email – possibly but not necessarily using the WCC PDF form – in which you identify the part of the plan concerned, say whether you support or oppose the provisions or wish to have them amended, and give your reasons for this. This makes it easier for the WCC Officers to identify which aspects of the plan might need attention and amendment. However if your submission doesn’t easily fit into this format you can write a narrative submission and email it to planningforgrowth@wcc.govt.nz.  Whatever you do make sure you include your name and contact details, and say if you would like to take part in a round table discussion with Councillors and other submitters in early 2022. 

The Association has sent a Newsletter to subscribers, with more detail about the proposals and our reaction, you can see it here . When you open this you will find a button top left where you can subscribe to the Newsletter for future news.

Submission on the WCC Bike Network Plan

The Bike Network Plan submissions close at 5pm on Tuesday 14th December– https://www.transportprojects.org.nz/current/bikenetwork/ 

The Residents’ Association has made a submission, approving of the proposals for a Bike Path Network but asking to be included in discussions as the details are worked out. 

A trial of establishing a path from Mein St along Riddiford St and Adelaide Rd into the City has already been agreed by Council, and now they are asking for input on your experiences of using this route. See here for more information and for a survey to complete.

Any issues which arise with this Bike Path will become obvious, and can be considered and addressed as the trial goes on.

Draft District Plan, Bike Network and LGWM – 3 consultations open now!

The Draft District Plan, the Bike Path from Newtown to Waitangi Park and Lets Get Wellington Moving – Mass Rapid Transit are all open consultations, and the staff from WCC will be at the Salvation Army Hall 4 Normanby St on Saturday 20th November to explain these to you.

Do get along and take all your questions!  Find out how these projects are going to affect you. They all involve big changes to our City, so if you approve or disapprove of what is proposed please let WCC know by making submissions on each of these. LGWM – Mass Rapid Transit closes 5pm Friday December 10th and the DDP and Bike Path consultations close at 5pm on Tuesday December 14th.

At the Residents’ Association meeting on Monday 15th November we had a presentation about the proposed Bike Path from Newtown to Waitangi Park. See here for the outline of this Newtown to city  |  Projects – WCC Transport Projects. There was a written presentation with more detail, the link is below.

And some members of the Association tuned in to a zoom meeting on Tuesday 9th November for a presentation about the Draft District Plan with WCC Planners, including Liam Hodgetts the Chief Planning Officer. This was a good session with good information. The presentation is attached below, and so is a document with written answers to a number of questions.

Unfortunately the session wasn’t recorded, so you won’t get the demonstration of how the DDP works as an interactive document.  There is a video about this at https://planningforgrowth.wellington.govt.nz/district-plan-review – scroll down to ‘How to Navigate and Read the DDP’. One of the interesting things you can do is enter an address into a search field and find out about all the DDP rules that affect that property. It’s a bit complicated though so I suggest you go along to one of the events and ask the officers to demonstrate it to you and explain what the rules will mean in practise. 

Notes from the October 2021 Meeting

The Newtown Residents’ Association October Meeting was at 7.30pm, 18 October 2021, held at St Thomas’s Community Lounge 200 Riddiford St.

This is a summary of some of the main points –

Workingmen’s Bowling Club, Owen St – Cr Fleur Fitzsimons reported that the Club has given up its lease. WCC  now owns the building and they don’t want to demolish it. Council officers are concerned however at the cost of repairs. The future use is not decided. A number of community groups are interested.  NRA is very clear that we can’t lose community space in Newtown, and our Councillors agree.

The District Plan, Cycleways and LGWM are all coming up for community consultation between November 2nd and December 14th.  At the time of this meeting the District Plan was due to be discussed by Wellington City Council’s Planning Committee on 20th October, and then released for consultation.

  • On 1 November at 5.30  there is a webinar introduction to the whole plan. Register for the launch event here.
  • 20 November there is an in-person Roadshow at the Salvation Army Hall 10am – 3pm, with input from the WCC planning team and the engagement team.

(Update –the Draft DP was adopted by the Council on 20th October after considerable discussion and some proposed amendments.  See here for the minutes, a useful Q&A document and the link to watch the meeting. In the meantime a new Government directive about intensifying housing was announced, so the Draft DP will need considerable revision.)

Introduction to LIVE WELLington. At the Association meeting in July we talked about the development of a group to promote density done well.  This organisation is now called ‘LiveWellington – a liveable city by design’.  Watch this space. The launch is expected to be 4pm November 14th at Mt Cook School.

The Government Housing Policy, with discussion of the Government Policy Statement on Urban Design and the National Policy Statement on Urban Design (which has the requirements for enabling ‘at least 6 storeys’ in large areas of our suburbs).

A Good News story followup about a WCC tenant who set up a small garden at her Council flat in Newtown, that was reported in the DomPost .  A garden supplies manager in Bulls liked the story and sent her a load of peastraw, compost and other gardening equipment, which she was very happy to receive.

The Newtown Festival – there is a lot of uncertainty about whether the Festival will go ahead as planned on March 6th – or the postponement date of April 3rd.  The Government announcements have said that Festivals will be able to operate with attendees having vaccine certificates – but it seems impossible to make sure that everyone at a free street Festival has a certificate, because there are a multitude of entrances, people living on site and a supermarket inside the Festival boundary.  However the Festival crew are going ahead with planning as if it is going to happen until there is more clarity about what will be happening in March (or April).

The meeting closed at 9.05pm. Next meeting November 15th, 7.30pm, same venue.

Minutes of the 2021 AGM

This meeting was 7.30pm Monday 20th September at the St Thomas’s / City Mission Community Lounge at 200 Riddiford St (a change from the usual venue at Newtown Hall because of Covid restrictions)

The AGM was followed by the usual monthly meeting business.

This is a summary of the meeting:

The Minutes of the 2020 AGM were taken as read and approved

Matters arising included the History Project.   Martin Hanley outlined the history of this (long-running) project.
It has now been prepared for publication as an online document.

President’s Report: This had been circulated, and is available online. Rhona summarised the report, with a month by month account of meeting topics, issues addressed and submissions made.https://newtownresidents.files.wordpress.com/2021/09/2021-agm-presidents-report-2.pdf

Treasurer’s Report: Michelle Wolland, our Treasurer, couldn’t be at the meeting.  Sam Somers read the Treasurer’s Report. There was a small operating surplus in the 2020-2021 financial year, and the Association has a healthy financial position. It was noted that we handle funding for Mount Cook Mobilised because they are not an incorporated society (Carol Comber is the link person between Mt Cook Mobilised and the Newtown Residents’ Association Executive).

Election of Officers:

President: Rhona Carson

Secretary: no nominations: Rhona noted that she had been acting as Secretary as well as President, and would be happy to hear from any member interested in this position.

Treasurer: Michelle Wolland

Vice Presidents: Jane Patterson & Martin Hanley

Executive Committee: Sam Somers , Carol Comber , Peter Frater, Marion Leighton, Steve Cosgrove, James Coyle, Hilary Watson, Penny Sturgess, Adam Awad

The Annual General Meeting was declared closed at 8:32

September Monthly Meeting started at 8:33. The main topics were:

Wellington City Council Representation Review

Sam Somers circulated and spoke to his written notes on this subject. Sam is doing a personal submission and encouraged others, including the Association, to make submissions. Consultation closes 4 October

There was a general discussion about issues pertaining to Council and Councillors.  In particular it was noted that before wards were introduced Councillors almost always came from the northern areas.

Community Centre Upgrade: a report from Tom Law (Chair of the Newtown Community and Cultural Centre Trust)

This is going very, very, slowly.  Plans are on the City Council website, and on the NCCC website.

  • The Theatre will be upgraded. An application has been made for Lottery Grants Board Funding, which was supported by the Newtown Residents’ Association and Newtown Festival. 
  • Escalating building costs have led to a request to Council for more funds.
  • Lift and office space upgrades are planned.
  • The Community and Cultural Centre is nearing the end of its one-year lease in the current replacement location (2 Green Street).  An extension to this is being progressed.

Update on Jared Corston’s role as WCC Community Liaison officer

  • Jared now has a wider range of responsibilities liaising with Community Centres across the City. However he is still focussing on Newtown issues. As before he asks people to use the WCC fixit app to report issues, but he is happy to be contacted when this doesn’t solve the problems, or if there are other Newtown issues to discuss. He can be contacted at Jared.Corston@wcc.govt.nz
  • CAB is currently occupying Kia Ora Newtown.  Jared has a desk at the library and uses community spaces for meeting people.
  • Steve asked about what has happened to the Keep NZ Beautiful mural from 15 Constable St?  This needs to be followed up.

The new venue

Martin Hanley moved a motion of thanks to Mark and Kirsty from St Thomas’s for the use of the Community Lounge for this meeting, and suggested we also have the October meeting there.  This was supported by the meeting.

The meeting closed at 9:05. The next meeting will be on October 18th, 7.30 pm, at the St Thomas’s Community Lounge 200 Riddiford St.

Notice of the 2021 Annual General Meeting

The Newtown Residents’ Association Annual General Meeting will be on Monday 20th September 2021, 7.30 pm.

Please note a change of venue!

This meeting will be held at the St Thomas’s and City Mission’s Community Lounge at 200 Riddiford St – in the same building as the Church.  The change from Newtown Hall is because of limited numbers allowed at Newtown Hall during covid delta level 2.

The AGM is when we elect the Association Officers and other Executive members for 2021-2022, discuss the year’s activities and plan for the future.

Nominees and nominators for the Executive need to be financial members of the Association; if you haven’t paid your subscription yet you can join at the start of the meeting.

The President (Rhona Carson) and Treasurer (Michelle Wolland) and Vice Presidents (Martin Hanley and Jane Patterson) are standing for re-election. Nominations for all positions can be taken at the meeting or conveyed to the President beforehand – please email newtownwellington@gmail.com.

See here for the Minutes of the 2020 AGM