Log on to free wi-fi in Miramar

DAVE BURGESS
Last updated 11:16 26/05/2014

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Miramar will become the first Wellington suburb to offer free wi-fi thanks to Enterprise Miramar and its business improvement district.

The BID was itself a Wellington first when it was established about five months ago.

Enterprise Miramar chairman Thomas Wutzler said free wi-fi would eventually be available throughout the entire BID area, with the rollout due to start soon.

"It is primarily for people coming to Miramar, but anyone in the area will be able to latch on to it.

"I think something that's been lacking, especially for the younger generation, is the ability to access free wi-fi [in Miramar]."

Under council rules Enterprise Miramar became an incorporated society in order to run the improvement district, in which all commercial ratepayers within its boundaries would contribute to a targeted rate of $80,000 a year.

The cost to set up the wi-fi is about $8900. It would be funded through a $5867 cultural grant from Wellington City Council, along with donations from Miramar-based businesses, Wutzler said.

One of the brains behind the project was city councillor Simon Marsh, who suggested last year to Enterprise Miramar that providing free wi-fi would be a good move. "I felt Miramar was the logical area, following the CBD, for free wi-fi. On completion of the Miramar BID agreement I suggested . . . it could be a project that would be ideal for Enterprise Miramar to get its teeth into."

The suburb is something of a Mecca for film buffs as they hunt out Sir Peter Jackson's film facilities, and visit the Weta Cave - the shop-front to the Oscar-winning Weta Workshop.

Film-maker Weta is among 177 businesses, from retail and service industries to light industrial outfits, in the BID area.

Enterprise Miramar has also had success in defining its tax status with Inland Revenue and is now exempt from GST on grants and able to claim GST for projects.

Other BIDs - there is interest in establishing them in Tawa and Newtown - would benefit from the ruling.

BIDS are used in other New Zealand cities. In Auckland there are about 45.

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- The Dominion Post

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