The parking lot building affects planned or potential development throughout the park, which is why a decision must be made now. They understand:
- replacement of the children’s playground in January 2022
- creation of a Chinese garden, which shares a load-bearing wall with the parking lot
- a potential proposal from the Fale Malae Trust to develop a Fale Malae in the park. The Trust would engage the public on this proposal if it succeeded in obtaining financial support from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage.
“Wellington’s waterfront is an iconic space dear to the hearts of Wellingtonians,” said Mayor Andy Foster.
“The advice is we need to tackle the earthquake-prone parking lot building. We have the proposal for the Chinese Garden, which has consent, and one for a Fale Malae. Both proposals, if they were to go ahead, would require a seismically sound foundation. Both proposals are of great importance to important parts of our community.
“The importance of Frank Kitts Park and the deep passion the people of Wellington have for the park mean that it will almost certainly be necessary to make a significant commitment in due course, whatever direction is ultimately chosen. This will be essential to achieve a coherent development plan that preserves the look and feel of this precious space in our city, ”said Mayor Foster.
“For many years, the communities of Pasifika have spoken to us about the need for a Fale Malae for the city and it is time to honor this request,” said Councilor Iona Pannett, chair of the committee.
“We must make this decision so that the The Fale Malae Trust may continue with the design process, which would include public consultation and seek funding from the Department of Culture and Heritage.
“This would enable the vision of an iconic and recognizable Pasifika architecture on the capital’s waterfront, which is of particular importance to Pasifika communities. It would also provide open spaces accessible to the public on a site with geotechnical challenges due to the challenges of building on reclaimed land subject to climate change. Any engineering work done will have to be done to very rigorous standards.
“Wellingtonians value open green spaces and with an ever increasing downtown population, the need for open public spaces will only increase. This building will be a public building with a large open space around it, with plans to create more green spaces in our CBD. A green network plan will be debated by the committee in less than a month to meet this need, ”explains Cr Pannett.
Council stopped using the parking lot for large public events, such as Wellington’s Underground Market and Homegrown, in early 2020. This follows a technical assessment that classified it as earthquake-prone.
Council officials say the investment needed to bolster the 30-year-old parking lot would not pay off. Estimates for March 2021 predict that achieving a New Building Standard (NBS) rating of 34% or less would cost around $ 10.5 million, and $ 18 million for an NBS of 67% or less. An NBS of 67% meets the expectations of a public building with high traffic to allow public safety in the event of an earthquake. These estimates do not include landscaping costs above the parking lot, demolition and construction permits, and traffic management, as these are identified in a more detailed design process.
The three options the committee will consider are:
- Develop a plan for:
- remove the parking lot and the upper deck of the Jervois quay because they are connected
- work with companies and organization located in the building on relocation options
- guide the design of the entire Frank Kitts Park area.
This plan would be completed in 2022 and presented to the Board for approval.
2. Sreinforce the building to ≥ 34% NBS or ≥ 67% NBS to provide a modest-sized parking lot. This would depend on whether funding is approved in the 2022-2023 annual plan or long-term plan.
3. Close the parking lot indefinitely until the plans for a Fale Male and Chinese Garden project are clearer, noting that the parking lot must be reinforced or demolished by 2034.
You can read the full Board document in the meeting agenda on the Board website: Planning and Environment Committee – September 23, 2021, 9:30 a.m. – Meetings – Wellington City Council
Frequently Asked Questions
If the Council votes to demolish the parking lot, will the public be consulted?
Although being an important asset, the car park building is not a strategic asset and therefore does not meet the criteria that would require consultation. Community views on the waterfront, including those related to structures and other assets, are well understood through the Waterfront Framework 2001, which was developed with the community. However, if the other options are adopted, including the proposed developments, this would include engaging with the public.
Why is Council recommending the potential removal of a green space in the city center?
The Council is developing a green network plan for Wellington. This plan will identify areas lacking green space in relation to the growth levels expected for the city. He will then recommend an approach to increase high quality green spaces across the city.
Any loss of open space in the park, such as the footprint of a building, will be counted and compensated elsewhere in the city. If the development of Fale Malae were to continue, the footprint of the building would need to be taken into account and replaced.
Do the estimates include demolition costs?
The cost of removing the parking lot and the upper deck of the Jervois quay is estimated at $ 1.2 million (additional, unspecified elements include the fight against soil contamination, authorization fees, backfilling and dewatering, the restoration of the park and the associated furniture and planting).
Is the Council concerned about the loss of income due to the non-replacement of the car park?
The main concern of the Council is to resolve seismic issues with the building, whether through reinforcement or removal. This cost greatly exceeds rental income of $ 265,000 per year for parking and $ 125,000 per year for commercial spaces.
If the parking lot is removed, will a new upper deck be created?
This has not been taken into account at this stage. This decision, for any replacement structure, will have to take into account how people access the area and Let’s Get Wellington Moving waterfront transportation plans.
If the parking lot was removed, what would happen to heritage items, such as plaques?
The Council will work closely with all waterfront stakeholders such as RSA and the Polish Society, to ensure that these important cultural and historical stories continue to be highlighted in the region.
What is happening with the Chinese Garden projects?
The 2018 approved design of the Chinese garden relies on the parking lot building for support. If the parking lot building is demolished, the garden design should be reconsidered.
The Chinese Garden Society is working alongside the Fale Malae Trust to incorporate their designs.
While the design changes are relatively minor, section 127 of the Resource Management Act provides that the Trust may request an amendment to the existing resource consent. This probably won’t require further public notification.