MCM representatives met with the Hon Chris Finlayson, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage about the War Memorial Park project on 15 April. We discussed MCM’s concerns and listened to the Minister’s views.
- The Minister is keen for the community and the Mt Cook School to be involved in the planning for the park
- He is also very comfortable with the notion of having some community facilities incorporated in the park’s overall design e.g. seating and a playground for children.
- He considers that there should be no shifting of the bypass roadway closer to the Mt Cook School. The Minister feels that the noise level of a roadway right next to school buildings will be disruptive
- The Minister is proposing to create a new advisory group to reconsider all of the plans for the park and to advise the Minister on a way forward. This will involve a review of all previous work. There will likely be a representative from Mt Cook Mobilised on this group. The Minister has written to the Prime Minister seeking his approval for the advisory group to be established.
- There will in any case be a delay while the Basin Reserve flyover is being considered as that will have an impact on the proposed park. In the interim until plans for the Park are finalised, the Ministry of Culture and Heritage is making plans for an upgrade and landscaping of the area of demolished buildings opposite the War Memorial site. Plans for this were viewed and discussed at the MCM meeting on Sunday 10 May.
Add your comments and suggestions by clicking on “Comments” above.
Memorial Park competition entrants all favoured leaving Buckle street in its present location, according to the Wellurban blog entry It’s a competitive world. I don’t know to what extent being briefed on the air quality and pedestrian safety concerns of local residents influenced design entries, but all opted for trenching Buckle St., or putting a bridge over it, and leaving it where it is.
Posted by Geoff
Here is a potential opportunity to influence the design options being considered for the Memorial Park – to present appealing design solutions that do not involve “bending” Buckle Street to run along the Mt Cook School boundary (as described in an earlier post and as originally proposed by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage). There is a seminar before the competition begins which can serve as a forum for highlighting local concerns, particularly about air pollution and pedestrian safety.
Seminar and competition
On Saturday 28th of July, a 24 hour Memorial Park design competition begins organised by Victoria University’s School of Architecture. The seminar starts at 9.30am and then the competition begins at 1pm. Register your interest in attending the seminar and/or entering the seminar by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also a $1000 prize for the winning design.
Posted by Geoff
The latest from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage (4th of July) is that the Memorial Park development is “on hold” pending the outcome of pollution monitoring planned for Buckle St. The Ministry has assured Mt Cook School and parents that the Memorial Park Project Group have taken into account school and parent health and safety concerns and is trying to urgently source pollution monitoring equipment. In the meantime the Ministry is still putting out a detailed design brief to its selected design teams, presumably next week (including the school and parent input), but has otherwise stated that:
1. no decisions on the alignment of the road will be made until results of the
air quality monitoring are available
2. the school will be included in the decision making
The Ministry is therefore NOT expecting construction to begin in October, or the work to being completed by next Anzac Day, as originally planned. It is now saying, “there is no longer any pressure to make quick decisions”. This is welcome news!
Posted by Geoff
After a meeting between Mt Cook School and parent representatives and the Memorial Park Project Committee on the 26th of June, it seems officials intend to press ahead with commissioning park designs that expect Buckle Street to run next to the school boundary. Here is the draft design brief, New Zealand Memorial Park: Conditions for the Design Selection Process, where no alternative scenarios are suggested. And, here is the timetable for determining the final park design.
Until 6 July
Drafting of detailed design brief, including input from school.
By Friday 6 July
Select short list of designers and distribute detailed design brief.
By Friday 17 August (approx)
Deadline for designs.
20-24 August (approx)
Interest groups (including the school) have opportunity to view the designs and comment.
Selection panel selects final design.
27 August – 26 October (approx)
Contract with designer and detailed landscape design.
Input from interest groups (including the school) on areas of detailed design which affect them.
Note that there is no delay to monitor pollution levels, as discussed with Mt Cook School and parents. Therefore the detailed design brief is likely to still direct landscape designers to consider only one roading option – redirecting Buckle Street alongside Mt Cook School. If things proceed in this way, our input into the brief will be a relatively insignificant footnote. And, if so, the submitted park designs will not reflect the health and safety concerns of residents and won’t show other reasonable and feasible alternatives to the layout preferred by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage.
If this alarms you please contact us so that we can let you know of opportunities for expressing your views alongside other local people. Mt Cook School is currently investigating legal options while some parents are organising to approach local and central government politicians.
Go to the mtcookmobilised wiki to view the presentation by Mt Cook School and parents to the Memorial Park Project Committee, along with further background information.
Posted by Geoff
Representatives and parents from Mt Cook School met last Tuesday (19 June) with Brodie Stubbs from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, and Ernst Zollner from the WCC, to express their strong opposition to the rerouting of Buckle Street closer to the school’s southern boundary. Brodie came to explain this roading change was part of a plan to create a new Memorial Park where Anzac Day-related activities and other ceremonial occasions could take place. All at the meeting favoured the creation of a new park between the school and the War Memorial. But all were opposed to bringing Buckle Street in a gradual arc past the school – about 10m at the closest point – instead of its present location about 40m away.
Brodie said no other options have been seriously considered by the Ministry, and consequently a landscape design competition, to be run in about 2 weeks time, will specify the road relocation aspart of the brief. The one concession to the school community was having “input” into the design brief. Ernst said, from WCC point of view, this is one of the most complex projects his team will deal with, given the number or stakeholders (including Transit NZ who own the road), and the expectation by Helen Clarke that the park by completed by Anzac Day 2008.
The meeting concluded with Mt Cook School and parents wanting to formally challenge the proposed road realignment on the following grounds:
- Health – the expected levels of air pollution would be unacceptably high and couldn’t be successfully mitigated (i.e. air pollution on the southern side of the school, which is also where the school’s grassed playground lies, is projected to increase by 260% with the road change), according to research by public health academic and Mt Cook School parent, Lucy Telfar Barnard
- Safety – the proposed development needs to improve road safety. There are already safety issues for pedestrians crossing Buckle St, and believe the proposal will make things worse
Brodie conceded that the Ministry would not try to push through a project in the face of significant health and safety concerns, and related public opposition. He acknowledged that pollution levels had not been monitored, nor sufficiently considered in the current design proposal. School reps and parents want Buckle St to stay where it is, and to instead have a broad bridge over the road, perhaps similar to the City to Sea bridge from Civic Sq to the waterfront, and/or trenching the road. Either of these options would allow the park to work, and make the area safer for pedestrians. Some argued this would also be most cost effective and produce “the best outcome for users”.
Brodie and Ernst agreed to:
- see if the school and parent reps can meet with the Memorial Park project team to discuss:
- whether the current plan can be revisited, particularly the location of the road
- whether designers can submit different design options, taking into account the health and safety concerns of the school and parents
- support the school seeking independent legal advice about whether resource consent is needed (WCC has advice that it is not) for the road change to proceed. WCC is to pay for this
- provide a timeline with key points in the commissioning of the Memorial Park development, especially those processes that the school and community can have input into
This meeting between the representatives of the Mt Cook School community and the Memorial Park Project Committee will take place on Tuesday, June 26.
Below is representation showing what is envisaged for the park and road. The view of school reps and parents at the meeting was that the area in front of the Carrillon seems ideal for a bridge over Buckle St, thereby removing the need to change the road. This would make the area safe for pedestrians. It may also be cheaper than the current plan. For more on these issues go to the wiki. Click to view full image.
Blue road = Buckle St’s current route relative to the Basin Reserve and Taranaki St
Red road = the proposed route for Buckle St (June 07) as part of the Memorial Park development
1. The possible location for a land bridge, providing easy and safe pedestrian access over Buckle Street and linking areas within the proposed Memorial Park for ceremonial purposes
2. Air pollution is projected to increase by 260% for school children and staff if Buckle Street is moved here
3. Traffic safety is expected to worsen with a busy intersection much closer to the school
4. The site of major safety concerns – the existing intersection between Buckle, Tory and Tasman Sts