Karori in limboDiane Calvert
If I’m elected to Wellington City Council in the Onslow-Western ward, I will bring back a focus of ensuring that the Council carries out its plan to upgrade Karori Town Centre.
Over a year ago this was stated and endorsed by Council as being a “flagship project” so should have been well on the way. Local ward councillors need to make it a priority ‘on their watch’. It has taken too long already and the Council has not enabled the level of public participation you would expect to see. The current piecemeal approach does not support a cohesive plan.
The Tawa town centre planning is underway again with $1 million allocated. A new and more comprehensive engagement model for Island Bay has got up and running in a short space of time. We should expect at least the same for Karori.
Key contributing issues to the delay as I see it:
- Governance – This work is governed by the Transport and Urban Development committee. The chair (Cllr Foster) needs to be held accountable in the first instance
- Capacity -The Council could have carried on engaging with Karori but didn’t as staff were siphoned off to progress pet/vanity projects in other suburbs and which weren’t on the approved work programme. Such projects and their poor engagement have also distracted the council as a whole.NB 2 of the 3 senior planners involved left WCC (why?)
- Capability – The Council appears under resourced and likely does not have the capability to undertake good public participatory design projects of the nature-
- Community Engagement and relationship building – The Council don’t understand what is happening in their own community. The latest round of Karori Town Centre planning was initiated over 12 months. How did they miss the issue of the Karori campus until it was brought to their attention earlier this year? I was amazed to hear Council officers state at the Karori campus meeting earlier this year that they had not realised how much the community used the campus’ facilities.