Plans for a new waterfront building are pushing ahead, with council officers recommending it proceeds despite public concern over the height.
A Wellington City Council committee will next week vote on whether to proceed with the latest design for site 10 in the North Kumutoto area of the waterfront, with staff advising that the six-storey building at present on the table should go ahead. The site is now home to the waterfront campervan park.
Public feedback has been divided on the building. Of the 196 submissions received by the council earlier this year, 97 were for and 99 were against the proposal, with the height one of the main public concerns, as well as many calling for no building at all.
The last proposed building for the site was thrown out by an Environment Court judge after it was ruled to be out of scale with its surroundings. In that decision, it was advised that any building on the site should not be more than 22 metres tall.
The latest six-storey design comes in 3.7m higher, and council officers have recommended the design should stay at that height.
The design also includes a public gallery and shopping space on the ground floor and a public space on the roof.
The recommendations to the council's transport and urban design committee also say that the need for public access to the rooftop should no longer be a requirement because of health and safety concerns, and that a few matters - such as wind management and vehicle access - still need to be developed.
Committee chairman Andy Foster said the waterfront framework had always indicated there would be a building on the site, and this was a "good, well-articulated design". Proceeds from the building would help fund the development of public space on site 8.
The height of the design was acceptable, because while the Environment Court indicated that 22m was the permissible height, that did not preclude buildings getting resource consent to go higher, Foster said.
However, there were a few details to be worked through, including the matter of roof access, he said. "We should bend over backwards to try and make that a space people could use."
Opposition group Waterfront Watch led the fight against the previous design, and has been critical of the new proposal, particularly the height.
President Pauline Swann said the group was "disappointed" with the recommendations.
She hoped to address the committee meeting and raise concerns, she said.
If agreed to at committee, the design will go to the full council for sign-off before resource consent is applied for.
- The Dominion Post
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