This statement is a response to the commitment I made to address the issues raised on the Queen Street Reserve at the Wainuiomata Community Board meeting last night.
At that meeting I appreciated the thoughtful, considered and passionate discussion by those members of the community who were present. The conversations were wide-ranging and a hallmark of democracy in action. It’s clear to me that the Wainuiomata community values the Queen Street Reserve and this was reflected in the views expressed at the meeting.
I want to reassure everyone that there are no council approved plans to do anything to the Queen Street Reserve. Ideas and concepts that were shared with councillors in a closed meeting in September 2018 are not progressing as this, along with any options for a community hub, would be a matter for the new council to consider and needs to be viewed in the context of other pressing investment commitments like Naenae Pool.
Whatever the future plans are for Wainuiomata they will be shared and developed in consultation with the community. It’s very important that the Wainuiomata community’s voice is heard and included in any planning about the future of their place. Plans for a hub in Wainuiomata or for this reserve will not progress without comprehensive community engagement with the people of Wainuiomata. I heard loud and clear from those present at the Wainuiomata Community Board meeting last night that there is no support for housing on this reserve.
I understand that work was being undertaken by officers to help inform our approach, potentially looking at funding options for a future community hub and ways to help address the current pressures on the housing market. The opportunity for this arose as a result of Progressive’s plans for the nearby shopping centre that were released last year. We have warmly welcomed Progressive’s help to reinvigorate Wainuiomata’s retail area and recently advised the community that this is now progressing at pace given approval of the resource consent.
As part of the shopping centre redevelopment Progressive had indicated to us that there might be an opportunity to explore using the Warehouse building which is not part of their plans. Again, options for this building potentially including a hub on site were discussed by officers and shared confidentially with council members. Funds for a hub are currently included in the council’s Long Term Plan in 2027/28 and 2029. Officers have been undertaking work to see if a hub could happen faster than what is currently planned especially in light of current financial constraints.
I was asked if we would publish the information the council holds in relation to the Queen Street Reserve and the work that has been done. This will take a little while to bring together and we hope to be able to share this in the next week or so.
Chief Executive Hutt City Council