Walkway memorial for councillor on the cards

KATIE CHAPMAN
Last updated 08:42 11/12/2013
LEONIE GILL
Kent Blechynden
LEONIE GILL: The former councillor could be memorialised with a Kilbirnie walkway.

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Wellington

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Long-serving Wellington councillor Leonie Gill may be memorialised in a Kilbirnie walkway.

The Wellington City Council is planning to include $280,000 in next year's budget for a walking and cycleway in the eastern ward suburb, which the mayor says will help recognise the contribution of Ms Gill, who died earlier this year.

"The walkway is an important asset for the local community that Cr Gill and I were working together on," Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said yesterday, noting that the proposal would be considered alongside other projects in the council's budget.

Councillors start to debate the draft annual plan today, in preparation for it to go out for public consultation early next year.

Ms Gill, 65, died last month, weeks after she lost her seat in this year's election, after being on the council for 15 years. She was noted for her dedication to the eastern ward, where she was the highest ranking councillor in 2010.

The walkway would follow the drainage easement from Cockburn St to Tirangi Rd, running along the south side of the bus barns and the southern edge of Rongotai College.

The $280,000 for the walkway is one of a number of unplanned expenses to be considered by councillors today. They are also being asked to spend an extra $847,000 for repairs to the seawalls damaged in the June storm that lashed Wellington.

City networks manager Stavros Michael said the repairs to the city's seawalls would cost about $2.5 million, and the $847,000 was for "priority repairs" in areas like Island Bay and along the length of the seawall surrounding the city.

The Island Bay seawall was extensively damaged in the storm, and the council is working through feasibility studies for what to do in the area, long-term.

Options include shifting the wall back inland, or closing the road between Shorland Park and the beach and creating a more natural coastline.

Other projects being considered include adding an extra $3m to the city's cycling budget, spending $500,000 more to pay staff a living wage, merging some council controlled companies, and encouraging more quake strengthening and new building in Wellington by offering developers lower rates and charges.

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- The Dominion Post

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