Leading Wellington Mayoral candidate Andy Foster says he is ‘quietly confident’ about plans for Johnsonville Mall coming to fruition.
This comes in the wake of northern ward and mayoral candidate Jenny Condie’s suggestion of using new, as yet unlegislated powers, to pressure Mall owners Stride into Mall redevelopment.
“I know Johnsonville residents are immensely frustrated at the fact that development has not happened yet. However we have been having excellent discussions with Stride, and have cleared any Council hurdles away. Council officials and Stride are both saying to me that things are looking more positive than ever.”
“I would expect that the key to pressing the ‘go’ button is, as it always will be with any development, locking down enough of the key tenants to give Stride confidence to proceed. My understanding is that this is proceeding very satisfactorily.”
“No Mayor or Council can pressure a private businesses to invest their money if they do not want to, and any sensible business will want to ensure it has dealt with its major risks before committing in this case around $150 million. In this case I fully expect that means getting some certainty around sufficient key tenancies.”
“Council has done its bit, investing in upgrading roading infrastructure, and supporting planning and design, for example to ensure provision for bus stops, and make sure that good safe pedestrian access is provided to the community hub across Moorefield Road. We have also invested significantly in community facilities in Johnsonville, including Alex Moore Park, extending Keith Spry Pool and in the about to be completed Waitohi – Johnsonville library. We have also cleared any other Council barriers.”
“Where I do completely agree with Jenny is that we establish an Urban Development Agency to help develop residential dwellings close to shops, services and public transport. Johnsonville Town Centre is an ideal candidate for this. That would strengthen the Town Centre, bring more life and activity, and reduce the need for car travel, congestion and emissions. Last triennium, we had a UDA 95% ready to go. We’d done consultation, got strong support, and expected it to be operative on 1 July 2017. My aspiration was to focus on quality, affordable, appropriate dwellings for aspiring first home owners and older people downsizing. It has been very disappointing that there was too much political ideological opposition to making that happen this triennium. I aim to change that after October.