Last year Civic Square was dual named – te Ngakau Civic Square. Te Ngakau means ‘heart’. Problem is that the heart has very much stopped beating. This is one I don’t really blame the current Mayor for, though councillors had to overrule him over making Jack Ilott Green a reserve. This was because it was obvious we needed to retain flexibility over the design of Civic Square given it has so many challenges. We need to use the time that the Town Hall is out of action to get on with the rest of Civic Square too.
We are convening leading seismic engineering experts to assess the Central Library. Those I have spoken with are confident it can be strengthened very economically at least to 60-70% NBS. I am well aware of how highly Wellingtonians value what is regarded as Ian Athfield’s finest work, and one of our city’s favourite places to be.
I will :
- Ensure all information about the Library and Civic Square is publicly accessible.
- Make a decision on strengthening the library within at most 6 months, and get on with it!
- Consider with you how the library might be economically internally modernized like Christchurch’s new Turanga library.
- Complete the strengthening of the Town Hall, keeping close eye on cost management.
- Complete arrangements with Victoria University and the NZSO to strengthen and lease the 1950s Municipal Office building.
- Engage with you on how to energise the Square, opening buildings onto it, improving access to surrounding streets, rebuilding the bridge, and taking opportunities to bring more activity into the Square.
I want us to be really clever about how we re-imagine the Square to make it a much better place. Let’s do it!