Volunteer Corner revamp gets under way

30 March 2015

Work starting at Volunteer Corner this week is the first step in creating another unique little inner city park – and a sign the ambitious Victoria Street transformation project is on the home stretch.

Volunteer Corner at the intersection of Victoria and Dixon streets.

Volunteer Corner at the intersection of Victoria and Dixon streets

Resize

The upgrade work, which will make the blocks between Dixon and Abel Smith streets a whole lot more appealing, began in November last year and is on track to be complete in just over three months’ time.

A team of more than 60 construction workers has been hard at work installing the special pits for the 55 street trees that will be planted in June, putting in pipes and ducts for existing and future underground services, and starting to install the new kerbs for the wide new footpaths that will stretch along both sides of the road.

With the completion of the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, there will be even more workers on the job in Victoria Street from now on and people will see the street improvements and two new park areas rapidly taking shape.

Deputy Mayor Justin Lester says the Council has worked closely with the experienced Memorial Park Alliance team to get the upgrade project completed as swiftly as possible.

“In the case of Volunteer Corner, we have also liaised with Volunteer Wellington to make sure the redesign incorporates the features of the existing garden that are important to them,” he says. “This will include reinstalling significant commemorative plaques and replanting camellias that were specially bred for the International Year of Volunteers to celebrate volunteers.”

The new-look Volunteer Corner, near Dixon Street, has been designed around the existing giant elm tree. It will include a special steel ramp and stair structure that will allow people to get right up close to the trunk and also protect the tree roots, which have been growing in the raised planter box above ground level.

There will also be native plants, lots of seating, a small lawn and other open areas that people can enjoy all year round.

Volunteer Wellington Co-Manager Pauline Harper says volunteers helped plant the existing garden in 2001 to mark the International Year of Volunteers.

“It was an auspicious garden and great having a corner that celebrated the huge contribution volunteers make in Wellington. However, the size and shape of the raised planter bed was a bit of an obstacle for pedestrians and meant there really wasn’t anywhere people could gather. The new-look Volunteer Corner will be a place where people can sit, reflect and celebrate.”

The corner is one of two new park areas being created in Victoria Street. The other is in the triangular area near Vivian Street.

The Council is investing in Victoria Street because it is a part of the city where several thousand more people are expected to be living in coming years.

“New residential and other developments are happening and we want to encourage other property owners to commit to improving and redeveloping their sites,” Cr Lester says. “Just a block from Cuba Street, it’s ideally situated to become a fantastic central city neighbourhood.”

A nine-storey apartment building is already under way at the intersection of Abel Smith Street and several other new developments are planned. These include an apartment complex adjacent to St Peter’s Church, just along from Volunteer Corner, and a new WelTech/Whitireia campus for more than 1000 students across the road.

For more information about the project, check: Victoria Street transformation project