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Basin Reserve Solution

By Comment, Memorial Park Competition, SUBMISSIONS

At last – Basin Reserve, the Movie:

You can play this here on YouTube:

It has taken us a while, and we still haven’t got a sound track, but at long last we have uploaded our movie on a possible solution to the impasse on the Basin Reserve. Please feel free to forward this link to anyone you might think would be interested. And, we look forward to your feedback.

RMA submissions – due today


Submissions on the RMA Streamlining Bill is due today. I’ll refrain from comments about politics and streamlining – or streamlining and design – you can check out Christina Cogdell’s Eugenic Design for that one. But the Bill proposed raises important issues about how the public might be included or excluded from the RMA process. The Bill also proposes new rules about whether a consent needs public notification … and for tree lovers there’s plenty to talk about.
Information on making a submission can be found at:

Building with a zero height: Great idea or Waterfront Ridiculous-ness?


Early December 2008 the Wellington City Council examined draft documents for Variation 11 (the long title being: District Plan Variation 11: Amendments to Proposed District Plan Change 48 (Central Area Review) – Wellington Waterfront.)

The relevant documents are: Report 1, Appendix 1, The Section 32 Report, and Attachment 1

At the time of the meeting Lindsay Shelton wrote an article available on Scoop suggesting inappropriate council behaviour such as: council officers approving buildings, the public being un-notified, and the outlawing of coffee (just joking about the coffee!).

Anyway, some day soon this should all become official for public consultation, and theoretically we’ll have 2 months or so to think about what the Arch Centre position is on all this. The documents are in part a reaction to the Hilton decision. As the council notes “the Environment Court did not question the existing waterfront Framework … but questioned the method of incorporation and reference in the District Plan.”

The Variation also includes changing the “strict regime … requiring all new building development and the development of open space to be assessed as Discretionary Activities (Unrestricted). This was to ensure that no development would occur on the waterfront without the opportunity for public involvement.” Currently, the main mechanism to ensure all projects are notified is the imposition of a zero height limit. The new proposal is “a new Discretionary (Restricted) rule with associated development standards and a design guide.”

Another key issue is the use of the idea of “design excellence,” borrowed from the existing Central Area under Plan Change 48 to allow over-height buildings. Wellington isn’t over-burdened with “design excellence” oozing from its built environment so you’d think on the surface that this was a good idea.

Oozing with Design Excellence?

Oozing with Design Excellence?

But what is “design excellence” and who decides? and are these people appropriately qualified in these matters? A nice idea but a dangerous one? And isn’t it an oxymoron (I love that word) to have a Maximum Height Limit plus 15% – what was that definition of “maximum”?

What are your opinions re: this? As usual the sub-committee drafting the submission won’t include anyone involved in related (i.e. Waterfront in this case) projects, nor those working in any firms involved in such work. But we will consider ideas discussed on this blog, which no doubt will be varied and possibly contradictory. Any members keen on being involved please email Kate or Christine.