No other suburb in Wellington contains such a range and quality of residential heritage as Thorndon.
The WCC propose to modify the District Plan in a way that has the potential to seriously impact residential property rights. The Thorndon Residents’ Association is seeking better engagement by residents on the proposals and encouraging an active conversation between the community and the WCC to find a better way forward.
The TRA vision for Thorndon has always been to work alongside the council and all interested parties. We believe no plan can be sustained without the engagement and agreement of the people it is meant to serve, and it must take into genuine consideration those who are affected by the plan and minimise adverse impacts on residents’ property rights. There is a very real need to create a future for the Thorndon community that is distinct and not predicted by its past.
Current state and Community involvement
Feedback from a public meeting held 11 March 2009 indicated that the council process was flawed from a community perspective; feedback from the formal written submission process is limited.
The process was stalled and it was agreed with council “that the revised provisions will be further consulted on with the Thorndon community prior to any heritage related proposed district plan change for the area being reported to the Council for its consideration”.
The Thorndon Residents’ Association has agreed to work in partnership with the Council and hold a series of local meetings and workshops to gather feedback from Thorndon and the wider Wellington community.
The following are dates and venues for meetings to be held in February and March 2010. Your future and your property rights are affected, so we recommend you update your diaries, and strongly urge you attend one or more of the meetings:
Future state (where we want to be)
We are seeking a solution that the community can sustain over the long haul that balances a range of competing needs, economic, environmental, social, and historical. We recognise that this will only occur when public conversations are held, with council commitment to outcomes based on accountability to the community. We also recognise this will be especially difficult in a community like Thorndon, where history and the past seem to be overriding restraints. We have partnered with a number of interested parties and in particular the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA).
The TRA agrees with the NZIA Manifesto for New Zealand’s Built Environment, in particular:
• the decisions we make on the form of our built environment can influence how we define ourselves as families, communities, and ultimately as a nation
• we need to be mindful of these qualities—spiritual, spatial, sustainable.
TRA agree with NZIA that the future of Thorndon’s built environment must be based on a combination of five key concepts:
1. community—quality community spaces, essential for a well-functioning modern society
2. sustainability—in both economic and moral terms
3. affordability—long term affordability through good design is the ultimate goal
4. heritage—preservation of the past and creation of the future must become a matter of deliberate design, not chance
5. urban design—the places we create should reflect our nation’s heritage, culture and aspirations
The TRA does not accept or agree with Council’s concept that Thorndon’s future be controlled solely by heritage zone ring fencing.
Building energy efficiency into homes is now an important consideration; whereas only decades ago this consideration didn’t prevail at all. Freedom to exercise environmental conservation on a case by case basis must now be part of Thorndon’s evolving residential character. For reasons like this there is a concern that WCC’s current proposal to heritage ringfence any part of Thorndon is an inappropriate and ‘blunt’ regulatory intervention that will hinder necessary innovation, adaptability and flexibility and have the potential to seriously impinge on fundamental residential property rights.
Therefore the TRA is seeking more sound and appropriate responses from the WCC to meet the contemporary needs of residents, families, and the use of their residential properties, whilst sustaining the overall character of Thorndon.
It is our expectation that we will partner with WCC, interested parties and residents to build and achieve a sustainable, community endorsed outcome.
Your participation is essential. Please note the meeting dates and venues above.