Urban Development Achievements


Courtenay Place upgrade Led the consultation that got the original redevelopment of Courtenay Place back on track after some retailer opposition. Significant contribution to revitalising Courtenay Place. Remember the old bus shelters in the middle of the road which serve as hangouts for street drinkers ?
Changes to protect heritage character areas I was part of the first hearing where Council considered the pre – 1930s demolition rule, or more precisely the ‘non demolition rule’, and my decision was the crucial one that got this concept into the District Plan. I have subsequently followed this up with Plan Changes covering all inner suburbs These rules cover Aro Valley, Thorndon, Mt Victoria, Newtown, Mt Cook, Berhampore –and were brought in through several plan changes PC 7, 38-40, and 72.

We did this to protect the character of these suburbs which have a very high level of coherent character, with in excess of 90% of buildings dating from pre 1930s. The rules do not prevent demolition but do mean that consent is required and Council can consider not just the value of the existing building but how whatever is proposed in its place would fit in.

Ridgelines and hilltops protection (PC 33) I led this really important plan change and have always advocated to protect our ridgelines and hilltops. It was one of the things that encouraged me to stand in the first place. Like the pre 1930s rule Plan Change 33 doesn’t ban ridgeline development but it can prevent it and often does, and certainly gives Council ability to require development to be more sensitive in location, design and colour.
Tapu te Ranga Open Space retention I led work to manage the level of development at Tapu Te Ranga Marae in Island Bay to retain open space values.
Northern Growth Management Framework  2001 and structure plan (PC45) I played a leading role in development of this really important engagement and planning Framework and subsequent Master Plan (PC45) This work is still guiding development of Stebbings Valley and Lincolnshire Farm today (our two major greenfields areas)
Central area noise insulation (PC23) I advocated that we should require higher standards of noise insulation in inner city apartments, rather than allow ‘the market’ to decide.
Takapu Island  rezoning (PC47) and supermarket development chair hearing I chaired the Plan Change for rezoning of Takapu Island (southern end of Tawa) and the subsequent resource consent hearing for the Countdown supermarket now located there.
Plan Change for Futuna Chapel interior (PC13) and support purchase and maintenance by the Trust Futuna development plan – save 4 totara, save stream, better quality development When the iconic Futuna Chapel was threatened by unsympathetic developers I worked with local community and officers to firstly come up with a better development proposal.

When the Chapel was subsequently being very badly treated as a building yard and all its interior fittings were in danger of being stripped out I arranged a very Court Order and subsequent rapid Plan Change to protect the interior and the fixtures and fittings.

Finally I have worked to financially support the Futuna Trust which finally purchased the Chapel in the purchase and subsequently in the restoration work it is doing.

We have first of all a much better quality of development. With the residents we didn’t just say ‘no’ and find a means of getting the development notified. We also commissioned a very reputable urban designer to come up with an alternative. The houses are far better than the developer proposed, the Chapel is treated more respectfully in terms of its setting, Karori stream which runs through the property was left intact rather than being piped, and 4 large mature native trees (totara) were saved from being chopped down.

The Trust is most of the way through restoring the Chapel, and last year Jesus came back ! (the iconic Jim Allen figure of Christ on the Cross which had been stolen was recovered by Police from a remote property in Taranaki after a tip off, and restored before being brought back to Futuna in a very moving ceremony)

Plan Changes to improve quality of suburban centre design (deal with blank walls etc) – PC 52 and element of PC 73. I proposed these changes to planning rules to prevent future developments in suburban centres from – as of right – having long, ugly, dead walls. The planning rules are in place and effective. An example is the Newtown Countdown which has active edges onto the street. Active edges improve the amenity and safety of the streets alongside them.
PC 56 – address worst parts of infill I led this Plan Change which we brought in at a time (2007) when unexpectedly high population growth was leading to a lot of poor quality, out of character infill development across the city which was causing great concern. The Plan Change successfully pretty much stopped these types of developments dead, and the concerns went away. There is still infill but not of the scale or causing the level of concern that existed prior to PC 56.
PC 58 – heritage protection of Salisbury Garden Court With resident encouragement I proposed the listing of the unique Salisbury Garden Court (Wadestown) and houses in 2007. Salisbury Garden Court is now listed as a Heritage Area.
PC 60 – Churton Park town centre plan I led much of the planning work which master planned the new Town Centre area for Churton Park and allowed the Callenders to develop the area as a lovely heart for this growing suburb. Churton Park has an attractive modern town centre including supermarket, shops, community centre with housing immediately adjacent.
PC 61 – Huntleigh Park bush – much stronger protections for this important primary bush remnant I led the planning rules, worked with the local Ngaio community and successfully persuaded a majority of councillors to substantially toughen up the rules because the level of development proposed was too great and would have caused immense damage to this wonderful bush area. We tightened up the proposed rules significantly, reducing the potential for development and for clearance of forest. After Otari, Huntleigh Park is generally regarded as the second most significant piece of original forest in the city.
PC 72 and 73 – target infill closer to PT and services to increase walking and PT use, differentiate between suburban centres, oversee initial concept and public engagement. These two Plan Changes are the largest Council has promulgated since the District plan was notified in 1994, and they cover the whole residential and suburban centre areas.

I led the extensive planning work and engagement on where development should and should not be encouraged, the Council’s Centres Policy and other work that built eventually to these two massive Plan Changes.

The Plan Changes were finally made operative after appeals were settled in late 2014.
131 Silverstream Road, Rhine St, Freeling St – not an SHA (lead this process) Worked with councillors to exclude these three sites from becoming SHAs Disappointingly consent for Silverstream Road has still been processed on a non-notified basis
Oversee getting District Plan operative (2014) As Chair Transport and Urban Development shepherded through making the Plan operative and getting all appeals resolved. Having an operative plan makes applications easier (only one set of rules instead of two) for both applicants and Council in processing applications.
Got Karori and Tawa MDRA / Town Centre proposals in the mix through Urban Growth Plan Got $1 million each into the 2015-25 Long Term Plan for Town Centre improvements. Money for Tawa has now been allocated in 2016/17 as there are detailed plans which have just been consulted on. Karori is a much more complex challenge with issues about the Mall and Mobil in particular. Officers, Cr Woolf and I have been engaging with key stakeholders in late 2015/early 2016. We plan to start engagement with the wider Karori community in October – November.
Karori Town Centre redevelopment 1995 – 2005 – Library, Town Square, Community Centre, Parkvale Road lights I led substantial community engagement with Wally Simmers, outside of Council processes because Karori was not on the radar for Council at the time.

We explored several different options for the Town Centre with the Karori community, eventually Council engaged in the process and with further consultation we agreed a complete Town Centre package including new Library + Café and Toilets, refurbishing the former Venture Units as our Community Centre, a small Square and ‘Avenue’, and moving the Karori Childcare Centre to Benburn Park.

Moving an old wooden hall was also proposed.

All the development was completed by 2005 with the opening of the Library which is over twice the size (860 sq metres) as the previous library (340 sq metres). Karori Library is by a considerable distance the most used branch in the city.

The Community Centre also hosts the CAB, St Johns Op Shop, Toy Library, Youth Centre, and occasionally the Police

The old wooden hall was found to be impractical to sound insulate and in any event was borer riddled and so unable to be moved.

Purchase of St Johns site, Karori With  Cr John Morrison gained Council agreement to purchase the St Johns site in 2000 which at that time hosted the community centre The St Johns site has given us a range of options in the design of the Karori Town Centre, and allowed development of the Avenue. Until 2004 the Community Centre was located there and the St Johns Church remains well used though is in poor repair.
Urban Development Agency I championed the concept of a UDA to help Council work with the private sector to deliver good quality, affordable housing as also to deliver our urban development strategy. The UDA has been agreed in June 2016. Officials will report back to Council before Christmas on the governance arrangements, constitution etc. The UDA will be operational by July next year if not earlier.
Strengthened Verandahs bylaw 2015 /16 Strengthened verandah bylaw and set scene for combining verandahs and balconies More key streets will have verandahs. Also allows Council to ensure verandahs are maintained and safe
Increased heritage funding from $400,000 to $1 million from 2015/16 to 2017/18

Out of 800 heritage listed buildings in the City, only 135 are classified as earthquake prone and of those at least 60 have work underway to strengthen them.

Pushed this into the budget for three years with  Cr Iona Pannett.

This is helping immensely with getting heritage buildings strengthened making our city safer while keeping our history and character.

Extra budget is allowing Council to support more heritage buildings strengthening work, headed by St Mary of the Angels. Other buildings to benefit in just the two most recent grants rounds include:

  • St Mathias (Makara),
  • Futuna Chapel,
  • The NZ Medical Assn Building (the Terrace),
  • Two houses in Tarikaka Street (Ngaio),
  • 10-24 Blair St/7-23 Allen St
  • Burnell Avenue –Thorndon
  • St Gerards – investigatory work
  • 60-64 Courtenay Place (corner of Tory St)
  • 161 Cuba St,
  • The Wellesley Club (Maginnity St)
  • Wellington Rowing Club
  • Other recent buildings include
  • The Wellington Samoan Assembly of God, (Rintoul Street),
  • The Albermarle Hotel (Ghuznee Street),
  • 290 Willis Street (Victorian villa)
  • The former St George’s Church Vicarage, (Ferry Street, Seatoun),
  • The Tramway Hotel, (Adelaide Road),
  • Jaycee Building, (Willis Street),
  • The Khandallah Automatic Telephone Exchange (KATE) (Khandallah Road), T & G Building, 203 Lambton Quay
  • The former Boys’ Institute Building, 30 Arthur Street
  • 216 Cuba Street
  • Wellington Harbour Board building, 1 Queens Wharf
Increased length of rates relief to 3/5/8/10 years Pushed greater period of rates relief where buildings have been strengthened with Cr Iona Pannett. Buildings which have been strengthened continue to be rated at pre strengthening value for a given period – 3 years for non-listed buildings, 5 years for listed buildings, 8 for Heritage NZ Category 2 buildings, 10 years for Heritage NZ Category 1 buildings.
Leading Adelaide Road framework planning (2008) Lead the community engagement process with officers and external charrette team Excellent framework created for Adelaide Road. We have upgraded Drummond Street as part of that framework, but Adelaide Road has had to wait for funding and to be integrated with a Basin solution. It will get picked up as part of Let’s Get Wellington Moving.
Part of Waterfront Leadership Group (2000) The Waterfront Leadership Group was formed of 3 councillors and 6 other members. The Framework has stood the test of time since 2000, setting a clear direction for development of our iconic Waterfront since 2000.
Leadership role in waterfront redevelopment As Urban Development Chair – Leadership role in the ongoing development of our Waterfront. Our waterfront is a jewel in the crown – widely envied, and up until 2013 had won over 45 awards – and counting. It is always wonderful to see so many people enjoying our waterfront on any half decent day – and all doing all kinds of different things.
Getting Lombard Lane/Denton Park redevelopment into the budget We received a proposal from Cook Strait Properties in 2013 which I championed through the Annual Plan. Cook Strait Properties will develop their site on the corner of Manners St and Victoria St, with the building also opening out onto Lombard Lane making it a lively safe area rather than a lifeless lane to be avoided. We can also  expand and upgrade Denton Park – the little pocket park on Bond Street.

After all the land and regulatory arrangements were completed, physical work  started in the middle of 2016.

I have begun pushing redevelopment of Te Aro Park and Dixon Street and Oaks and making Dixon Street more a people place  

Work to do on Te Aro Park. This could become an amazing city space especially being in close proximity to Whitirea – Weltec, Cordon Bleu and the planned new NZSO – VUW School of Music. There is also potential to bring the city Arts Centre – Toi Poneke to the area and use it for performances and for markets. It really could be an incredible hub for the city.

Work to improve Frank Kitts playground (long advocacy with Wellington Waterfront/City Shaper) Frank Kitts Playground design has been consulted on with parents and children. It should be a real quality destination playground fitting for Wellington’s Waterfront. I have also been pushing for an adult exercise area at Frank Kitts Park – a concept I have seen in South Korea, and something the Youth Council has also been pushing.
Advocating for EQ finance support from Government (depreciation), and powers to go for higher strengthening on key routes. Ongoing work
Heritage Building prioritisation process
WW1 commemorative street signs My idea, I’ve researched the streets in Wellington named for people, places and events from the First World War, written the stories, and with a couple of officers organised a series of commemorative street events on the 100th Anniversary of events or people’s deaths. They have been very popular and allowed people to understand the significance of those street names. Commemorative signs have been erected, with the last sign installed at Versailles Street, Karori in June 2019.
Street signs – sense of place proposal (Oct / Nov 2015) I have also got a small budget in this year 2016/17 to start putting interpretative signs attached to other street signs – again so that we and our visitors know where the street names come from. The first 35 signs are researched and ready to go now. We plan to do about 50 signs a year.
Establishment of Heritage Centres – Aro Valley, Newtown, John Street, Hataitai, Berhampore, Thorndon – PC 75 Championed by Cr Iona Pannett and myself to protect the character of these suburban centres Implemented and operative July 2011
Karori tunnel plaque Request from Karori Historical Society
Cobblestone Park development I and 3 others (officers and urban designer) judged design ideas for the revamp of Cobblestone Park Included a basketball half court, art spaces, and simple play features – overall design is much more usable and used than the previous design. I will keep working to encourage the University to open out onto the Park more directly.
Car Haulaways – stopping it destroying forest and stream gully between Grenada and Grenada North I worked with Grenada Village Assn to fight against a resource consent which would have filled in a bush covered gully and piped 800 metres of stream in the Belmont catchment Greater Wellington turned down the consent and we worked to achieve a result which saved the gully and stream.
Wellywood sign change Part of opposition to the Airport Wellywood sign – now just Wellington.
Kilbirnie Town Centre Plan Led planning consultation for Kilbirnie Town Centre. (not the delivery)
Newlands Town Centre Plan When there were discussions about location of the Newlands Community Centre, I insisted that we needed to do a much more compete plan to revitalise what was a really struggling town centre – otherwise we would just have built a community centre and walked away . Councillors agreed with me and we developed a 5 year and 20 year plan fro Newlands which is being implemented. The Supermarket is a key outcome which has brought a lot more life to Newlands. (the Community Centre was originally going to go where the Supermarket now is). In my view Town and Village centres are the hearts of their respective communities and it is essential that they are thriving places to shop, meet,