At a special meeting with the TRA held on 29th June, Teena Pennington, WCC’s Director for Strategy and Urban Design, provided an update on recent developments. These related specifically to the public consultations earlier this year and all the matters arising during the extended community conversation on managing Thorndon residential heritage values.

The urban planners’ work was initially undertaken within a framework of WCC’s rolling reviews of the City’s district plan. The question of heritage had been wrapped into one of these reviews. Following strong community reaction, the council agreed to an extended community consultation specifically for Thorndon. It was acknowledged that since 2009 considerably more is now known about the issues, including how the status quo is not a desirable state of affairs, either. Many stories have been uncovered of difficult and unsatisfactory resource consent processes under current council arrangements.

Questions remain unanswered on the issue of whether resource consents are necessarily the best or only option for managing residential properties and streetscapes in Thorndon. Members raised many additional questions: about principles, individual property rights, compensation, and governance of streetscapes.

A council officers’ report on the community consultation – summarising the outcomes and making recommendations – is being prepared for the council’s Strategy and Policy Committee meeting on August 5th 2010. The Council has publicly committed itself to being guided and informed by what the community wants. Council officers have confirmed their report will be made public a week before the committee meeting. The TRA awaits the report with interest.