Bond St makeover an 'abomination'

Not everyone is happy Bond St in Wellington has gone dotty for summer, with decorations, a swing, and live jazz.
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Not everyone is happy Bond St in Wellington has gone dotty for summer, with decorations, a swing, and live jazz.

Not all Wellington City councillors are happy about the new pedestrian area in Bond St.

The small inner-city street had a $100,000 makeover last week, with the red spots, swing and solar-powered flower pots part of Wellington City Council's plan to raise the street's profile and that of its businesses.

There will be a range of events in the street, including music, cycle maintenance sessions, storytelling sessions, hairdressing, barbering and historical displays.

But Lambton ward councillor Mark Peck said some retailers had told him the pop-up area was discriminatory.

"Spending $100,000 of ratepayers' money to temporarily enhance Bond St with a pop-up display makes fish of them and fowl of the rest," Peck said, who owns a competing cafe nearby.

Temporary seating, plants, astroturf and a swing have been set up in Bond St and red polka-dots have been painted on the road.

"Council has no business wasting ratepayer money on these sort of feel-good interventions that act as a subsidy to the businesses lucky enough to be in the vicinity," Peck said. "This action is hurting hardworking business. The sooner it comes to its senses and takes down this abomination, the better."

Fellow Lambton ward councillor Nicola Young said the Bond St project was part of what a council was all about.

"It exemplifies what a city council should do," she said. "It's brightening up a dreary little street and is an example of what we can do in these spaces.

"People have grins on their faces when they go there. I'm incredibly proud of it."

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The makeover will be in place until April 27, when the effects of the changes will be measured to determine the economic impact and benefits.

Young commended the council's urban design team and said she was excited to see the changes they would make to the next streets on the schedule - Eva and Leeds streets.

 - The Wellingtonian

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