At present, the question up for debate by the council is twofold: the sale/lease of land to a developer, and the uncapped infrastructure spend that is associated with the proposed development.
These two questions are interesting, as the underlying assumption is that the City Council does not want the land, but does want to support the dense urban housing that the developer is proposing. I would argue that these two assumptions are essentially flawed, and competing.
On the one hand the council is clearly tasked with helping to aid the economic development of Wellington, and to that end, this would surely succeed – a lot of cash would get spent. Of course, a lot of it will be coming from the ratepayers, so that part of the spend is zero or negative.
The economists in the crowd would more than likely be quite happy to see the entire Miramar Peninsula covered with 6, 8, or 10 story dense urban housing, as this is of course the way you generate economic activity. But it’s a pretty poor replacement for what is here.
As other authors have noted, the Shelly Bay area is unique in its location both within a city, and it’s wild and undeveloped disposition.
Which leads me to the other competing claim on the council: to provide for the general well-being of the community, and in this case, the councils’ proposal falls very flat. This neighbourhood is possessed of a very unique character, one which the Council seems happy to destroy in its’ quest for profit for the developers. It’s at this level that the removal of land from the Council into private arms, a removal I will note, was not open up to public scrutiny, nor open to competitive bids, nor, up till now, even open for debate is at fault, and will harm the neighbourhood.
Remember, once that land is gone, it’s gone for good. It will never return to the public domain, and the thin slices that the developer is proposing as a replacement are a sorry sad replacement.
The Wellington City Council needs to be reminded that it has a fiduciary responsibility to our happiness and enjoyment of our community.
So I urge you to write to them and remind them of their responsibility.
P.S.: Don’t forget to put your submission in by 5PM August 14, 2017