News

The week that was; LGWM, housing, more LGWM, and bullying (The “I know nothing!” special)

As the number of buildings in the CBD continues to shrink due to stock being deemed earthquake risk, with many more no doubt to come, Voxy reports that;

Record low vacancy rates across all the key Wellington commercial property sectors is driving down yields and pushing up rents.

Pressure on Wellington CBD tipped to fuel interest in Manners St office tower

Certainly, CBD land and buildings are going to continue to sell at a premium in the current climate and as more properties are identified as at risk, that will get worse.

The Wellington Band Rotunda in Oriental Bay looks set to get a makeover;

After years of waiting for a saviour the Band Rotunda in Wellington’s Oriental Bay will be redeveloped.

The Wellington City Council has accepted a redevelopment proposal for the Band Rotunda from Cheops Holdings, which redeveloped the Press Hall precinct, Public Trust Building and 15 Stout Street.

Developer steps up to take on rejuvenation of Wellington’s Oriental Bay Band Rotunda

Images in the article seem to show an upmarket restaurant with the public having access to the rooftop area. It will be interesting to see if the developer can find a tenant for the site given the current state of the hospitality industry.

Let’s Get Wellington Moving remained in the news during the week. Details were still lacking, confusion reigned at times, and commentators continued to be polarised. One thing was for certain, developers are banking on the fact that nothing will be happening for decades.

Their futures hang in doubt but estate agents have pushed on with open homes in the path of a planned highway.

Open homes go ahead in Wellington houses seemingly condemned by new road

Back on wider LGWM matters Brett Hudson from National had a crack at the Mayor along with Phil Twyford;

Twyford and Wellington Mayor Justin Lester have been accused of being “tricky” by promising billions for the wider region to make the  city-centred LGWM project easier to swallow.

Commitment questioned on $4.4B promised for wider region in Let’s Get Wellington Moving

It’s a confusing back and forth between politicians that does nothing to assure the public of when things might start, which projects might be on the table, or any other information that means anyone could be held to account.

Meanwhile, we’re going to look at this in-depth later today, one of the first projects of LGWM may be installing traffic lights across State Highway One on Cobham Drive.

A traffic light-controlled pedestrian crossing on busy Cobham Dr, on State Highway 1, is expected to be one of the first projects completed as part of the multibillion-dollar Let’s Get Wellington Moving (LGWM) programme.

Traffic lights preferred option for pedestrian crossing on busy route to Wellington Airport

As we will see later the only person defending this was Chris Calvi-Freeman while almost every resident, local lobby group, and interested party carried out a collective face palm.

Milking LGWM in the positive, for all it was worth, the WCC in one of their typical Pollyanna press releases, released designs for a shared-walkway between Petone and Ngauranga. We couldn’t find a link to the designs or presumed consultation, so perhaps we’ll be waiting a decade or more for this to happen as well.

The Basin came up again this week, though if it were a literal basin it would have overflowed long ago and flooded the house.

It’s been over three years and there are still no concrete plans for how to unblock traffic at the Basin Reserve.

Any changes to Wellington’s Basin Reserve roundabout will need to wait until new road agreed on

Again confused reigned, excuses were in abundance, politicians had no idea what was planned, and the only thing that everyone seemed to agree on was that any work was probably a decade away. Situation normal then.

This didn’t seem to stop some of the pro-cycling community from then posting images and videos of cars trying to get around the Basin in rush-hour, bemoaning the fact that most of them had a single occupant. Definitely fake news of the week as far as we are concerned as their was no empirical data given and their views concentrated on the parts of the basin where there is no public transport at all.

In the last article about LGWM for the week debate was had about exactly where, and what type of, mass transit would be. That didn’t stop the reporter from deciding it would be trams.

By 2040, the average Wellingtonian probably takes the tram they use for granted.

The long and winding road to the start line for Wellington’s proposed mass transit system

Long story short, once again a lack of facts and direction reigns supreme and we’ll be waiting at least two decades for this project.

It’s almost like LGWM just gave up at the finishing line, after the last government change, and threw every option on the table they could think of. If this is consensus then we are doomed to be stuck in a smoky, congested, traffic hell for the next twenty years.

Meanwhile, as local and regional councils have replaced our electric trolley bus fleet with diesels, failed to unlock transport options, continue to support projects such as the airport extension that will have a high-impact on the climate, and developments at sea-level, they also have been trumpeting about declaring a climate change emergency.

The mind boggles.

Wellington City Councillor Iona Pannett is pushing for a climate emergency to be declared in the capital. She has secured the support of Mayor Justin Lester for the move.

New Zealand nurses warn of disease risk from climate change

We don’t know what that means exactly, in terms of practical measures that may arise if such a declaration is made. I don’t think anyone does. Perhaps ratepayers will all get a life-jacket issued. Perhaps I should put in my resource consent application for a boat jetty, it will take at least as long as sea-level rise to process I have no doubt.

Bullying everywhere over the last week and the Zoo was no exception, the Dominion Post digging up the garden again.

Former workers talked to Stuff on condition of anonymity, and some said no formal complaints had been laid with the zoo because staff had no faith in the complaints being taken seriously.

One said the “insidious”, repetitive, and undermining bullying she experienced at the zoo left her doubting herself and she left the job under her doctor’s instructions.

“I went to the union, I went to HR and laid a complaint and said something has to happen here. We had several meetings and in the end I resigned as I knew nothing would happen to effect change and it would only be worse for me.”

Stuff has seen an email, written by another recent zoo employee to Wellington City Councillor Simon Woolf.

“[I] felt forced to resign … having been personally belittled to the point of tears for over an hour by [a manager], without my general manager present,” the email said.

Yet another described an “endemic culture of bullying by [some] managers towards staff all around the zoo”.

Wellington Zoo ditches written exit letters in wake of bullying claims

The latest story comes as a result of the Zoo ditching exit letters in favour of exit interviews. But, don’t worry people;

Chief executive Karen Fifield recently said the zoo was a great place to work. She did not believe it had a bullying problem.

Wait, does Wellington have two zoos?

Anyway, nothing to see here, move on please. Again, an apparent lack of transparency and dealing with the issues rather than having the guts to sort it out.

1 reply »

  1. A very amusing read. Just to clarify, in case it wasn’t blindingly obvious in the DomPost article: an at grade traffic signals crossing on Cobham Drive is the recommended option of LGWM. This is because it would cost about 10% of an overbridge or subway and because it would cause virtually no disruption to vehicular traffic. if an overbridge had been recommended, you would have breathlessly exclaimed “LGWM set to waste taxpayer and ratepayer funds on a monument to spendthritness” (if that is ineed a word).

    And I’ll bet you my e-bike that a great solution to the Basin’s congestion woes will be well and truly in place within a decade, and hopefully much sooner than that.

    Like

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