Traffic concerns denied

August 2, 2007 at 8:33 am | Posted in Traffic-pedestrian issues | 3 Comments

The Wellington City Council and the Wellington Road Policing Unit reckon no-one has complained about pedestrian safety at the intersections of Buckle, Taranaki and Arthur Sts, according to a Citylife article last week, “School sees red over drivers running lights”. Clearly Mt Cook School disagrees, as do a number of residents who have called both the Police and the Council about safety at the two major Buckle Street intersections near the school. More on this shortly…

Posted by Geoff

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Memorial Park design competition – 28 & 29 July

July 26, 2007 at 6:45 am | Posted in Memorial Park / Buckle St | Leave a comment

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 rhys.williams@vuw.ac.nz. There is also a $1000 prize for the winning design.

Posted by Geoff

Sign a petition – if concerned about the BGI site

July 22, 2007 at 4:35 pm | Posted in BGI site | Leave a comment

Jacky Haydn is a Mt Cook resident who has been gathering signatures to petition the WCC and Foodstuffs regarding the development of the BGI site. The petition:

1. opposes a large-scale supermarket development along Tasman Street as it is already congested at peak time
2. supports a small-scale, low-impact plan, landscaped with trees and shrubs
3. supports keeping Boys’ Institute as an iconic heritage landmark, aesthetically and culturally in tune with other significant historical buildings in Mt Cook
4. supports upgrading the swimming facility Boys [and Girls] Institute houses as it is used by up to 2000 local children per week

    I urge concerned locals to sign this petition, even if you don’t agree with the precise wording. The main sentiments or principles are important. Once we impress upon the WCC and Foodstuffs the strength of feeling that residents and friends of Mt Cook have about ad-hoc development, and the loss of local facilities, we can then (hopefully) influence things – have a say about what we actually want, and how best to make this happen in our neighbourhood.

    The petition can be downloaded here

    Posted by Geoff

    What’s happening with the BGI site

    July 18, 2007 at 8:51 am | Posted in BGI site | Leave a comment

    Hello, kia ora

    Here is the latest news on the proposed development of the BGI site, as far as I can tell:

    • the Pak ‘n Save formula may not apply – the proposed supermarket is likely to be smaller, more “unique”
    • the City Council has not received an application or been shown plans and therefore has no view or comment to make on the proposal
    • the WCC can only concentrate on certain aspects of an application when it is received. The Councils ability to approve or reject aspects of the proposal will be limited to traffic effects, streetscape impacts and overall urban design
    • the BGI building can be demolished without approval because it doesn’t have heritage status
    • nearby the Council’s urban development strategy aims to “transform Adelaide Rd into a low-rise apartment boulevard supported by appropriate ground floor activities” (Ernst Zolner, 13 July 07)

    The Swim School

    TSW Swim School seems to be of the view that:

    • water safety and the future of swimming in Wellington is jeopardised by closure of the BGI pool and the resident swim school
    • the swimming pool in the BGI building is a the end of its life and would need to be significantly upgraded or replaced with a new facility
    • Wellington needs a dedicated swimming training facility because there is not sufficient capacity to train swimmers in Wellington without the pool in the BGI building
    • While the WCC has no plans to build further swimming facilities in the next decade, the Council could partner with others parties to ensure a new dedicated swimming training facility is established
    • compiling a voice of concern, signed by TSW patrons, will demonstrate to the WCC, and presumably other institutions, that there is demand for a dedicated swim school facility.

    For more information from TSW contact Scott Wilson

    Buildings in danger

    bgi-building-415w.jpg

    The Boys [and Girls] Institute Building, built in 1914, and

    terrace-houses-431w.jpg

    Terraced houses on the corner of Rugby and Belfast Streets.

    Thats all for now.

    Posted by Geoff

    Memorial Park development “on hold”

    July 6, 2007 at 8:28 am | Posted in Memorial Park / Buckle St | Leave a comment

    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

    Community concerns about Memorial Park remain

    July 2, 2007 at 11:56 pm | Posted in Memorial Park / Buckle St | Leave a comment

    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

    Alternatives to proposed Buckle Street change discussed

    June 22, 2007 at 10:32 pm | Posted in Memorial Park / Buckle St | 3 Comments

    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.

    Memorial Park 560x jpeg w hotspots

    Map key
    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

    Geoff Stone

    Kia ora, hello Mt Cook and inner Wellington residents

    June 13, 2007 at 12:23 am | Posted in Introduction | 2 Comments

    A growing number of people want to work together to ensure facilities in our community are preserved or thoughtfully developed.

    This weblog is a place for Mt Cook people, and the wider community, to find and to publicise information, make comment and put forward ideas on issues that effect us all.

    Presently those issues include:

    • the threat to TSW swim school and pool facility
    • the proposal to divert the Buckle St section of the motorway extension to run alongside Mt Cook School’s playing field and classrooms, to allow for the development of a park in front of the War Memorial
    • road safety issues in Mt Cook, particularly at the intersections of Buckle and Taranaki Sts, and Buckle and Tory/Tasman Sts. A large supermarket and service station in Tasman St would exacerbate these traffic problems

    The feelings of this writer are that there are other, more creative and community-friendly answers to these problems than those presently suggested by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and Foodstuffs.

    Please add to this site.
    You can place comment with links to other sites that may be of interest to others, or express your ideas on town planning, children’s fitness and health, community development, history, roading design, ideas about lobbying and campaigning, research, whatever. NB. If you want to make more than a passing comment – write an article, publish references or explore an issue in depth with others, go to the related mtcookmobilised wiki (a quick editable website).

    Presently two issues are of particular interest and urgency, and both effect the welfare of our children:

    First, the threat to TSW Swim School in Tasman St.
    Recently the families of children who swim at TSW Swim School were notified that TSW will close in December 2007. In its place Foodstuffs, the owners of the site, intend to build a 6000sqm supermarket, a service station, and apartments. As yet they do not have resource consent for this development.

    The proposed Pak ‘N Save supermarket will front Rugby, Tasman and Belfast Sts. Not only will this development mean a greatly increased volume of traffic in the surrounding streets, it will also mean Wellington loses a dedicated swim school.

    Scott Wilson, who currently rents the pool from Foodstuffs, said (Dominion Post, Monday June 11):
    “In some supermarket and mall-type developments in Australia, they do have designated swimming schools … and we tried to show them [Foodstuffs] the benefits of that.”

    The other issue is the proposal to divert Buckle St to run alongside Mt Cook School’s boundary.
    This is to allow for a memorial park to be built in front of the War Memorial site.

    Representatives from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Wellington City Council, the Mt Cook School board and some Mt Cook School parents have had discussions about this. A summary of these meetings will follow.

    Sharon Murdoch
    (Mt Cook resident, Mt Cook School parent, TWS user)

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