Give Miramar some love, Oscar-winner begs

JODY O'CALLAGHAN
CONSUMER AFFAIRS, AND ATTRACTIONS AND EVENTS REPORTER
Last updated 05:00 24/05/2012
Miramar

EASTERN WISHES: Daminda Dias, Allan Probert and Jamie Selkirk want the Wellington City Council to invest in upgrading Miramar, the heart of the capital's film industry.

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Oscar-winning film editor Jamie Selkirk has made a plea to Wellington City Council to repay the multimillion-dollar film industry by helping to upgrade the suburb where it began.

Selkirk, known for his work on The Lord of the Rings trilogy, addressed the city council yesterday on its draft long-term plan, asking it to reconsider its proposal to drop an upgrade of Miramar in favour of work in the central city.

The council had anticipated providing a focal point to the suburb's centre, and increasing safety, during 2012-13, but budget constraints meant significant upgrades to suburban centres were removed from the draft plan.

In his address to the council, Selkirk said he, along with Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor, had chosen Miramar as the place to lay down New Zealand's film industry's roots, putting $78 million into the eastern suburb over the years.

But it was still a "home without a heart", with unsafe roading that was a "bit of a shambles" and a public toilet taking up all the public space, he said.

The film industry brought $400m revenue to the city last year - as well as bringing 1500 workers and their families to Miramar - but council had failed to "cash in on that" by making the community more attractive.

Selkirk said in his written submission that "Miramar has for too long been left out in the cold" and spending $900,000 for a relatively simple upgrade was a "no-brainer".

Selkirk, Jackson and Taylor all helped to fund the $7m revamp of the Roxy Cinema in Miramar last year, along with cinema co-owner Daminda Dias.

Mr Dias told the hearing that the centre of Miramar had "always been a bit of a poor cousin". He was disappointed upgrade plans had been dropped just weeks before he thought work was about to begin.

Enterprise Miramar Peninsula chairman Allan Probert, who will address council today, said he always thought the business group had a good partnership with council.

The draft plan suggested investment in suburban centres could be considered where there were major partnership opportunities or significant growth.

So to not invest in the fastest growing suburb, which gives the city about $1.7m in annual commercial rates, would be a mistake, Mr Probert said.

There was constantly high foot traffic, but no traffic safety, no places to sit, and no ambience, he said.

"We must be the only suburb with a public toilet sitting there taking up space and blocking the area. It's just such an eye-sore."

A final decision on the draft plan submissions would be made at the end of June.

Related: Wellington's coolest suburbs - Miramar

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Contact Jody O'Callaghan
Consumer affairs, and Attractions and Events reporter
Email: jody.o'callaghan@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @miss_jodyo

- © Fairfax NZ News

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