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Waterfront design approved by WCC committee

21 August 2014. Source: Fairfax NZ News
kumutoto site 10 map

A rejigged design for a building on the controversial North Kumutoto waterfront site has been approved by a Wellington City Council committee.

The approval comes after the council and Wellington Waterfront bowed to public pressure and cut down the size of the building.

An environment court decision had rejected an earlier building proposal on site 10, ruling that it was too tall and out of keeping with its surroundings. It said that any building on the site should not be more than 22 metres tall.

But the latest Willis Bond & Co proposal came in at six-storeys, and 25m.

After public feedback the top storey and a rooftop garden has been erased from the plans, bringing the height back down to 22.4m.

Members of the council's transport and urban development committee said any building on the site had to pass a high bar.

"In this case I'm very keen to support the project because I believe it's been passed," Justin Lester said, adding that there were no equivalent alternatives.

"If we were of a mind to decline this proposal ... it would remain a concrete wasteland for at least the next 10 years."

But Iona Pannett opposed the project, saying public space should not be commercialised.

"This is some of our most important space, it belongs to all of us, not just a few people who can work there or make a business out of it."

The building was not of a high enough standard, she said.

Committee chairman Andy Foster said the bar was high, but you had to set it at a reasonable level, otherwise "you will have a carpark there for a very, very long time."

Of the seven member committee only Pannett voted against the design.

The design proposal, along with commercial arrangements will go to the full council for consideration next week.

If approved, the resource consent process will then begin. Construction could begin at the end of next year.