Wellington's traffic and fire bylaws under review

24 August 2015

Wellington City Council is reviewing its traffic bylaw and fire prevention bylaw – and the community is invited to have its say.

In official terms, the review covers:

  • Part 3: Fire Prevention of the Wellington City Consolidated Bylaw 2008 . It is due for review by December 2015.
  • Part 7: Traffic of the Wellington City Consolidated Bylaw 2008. The bylaw is due for review by February 2016.

All bylaws must be reviewed every 10 years under the terms of the Local Government Act 2002.

Public consultation on both bylaws starts on Friday 28 August. Written submissions will be accepted until 5pm on 30 September 2015.

Fire prevention bylaw

The purpose of the fire bylaw is to minimise the risk arising from uncontrolled fires and to address public safety concerns and nuisance concerns. The fire bylaw is empowered under LGA provisions for the purpose of maintaining public safety and preventing public nuisance.

As part of the review, Council officers, in consultation with the Fire Service, have identified several problem areas in the operation of the fire bylaw that could be improved. These are:

  • there is uncertainty about which fires require a permit
  • many cooking and heating fires in purpose-built containers require permits, but cause very few nuisance complaints or safety risks 
  • burning rubbish is allowed with a fire permit – these fires can be dangerous, cause conflict between neighbours, and lead to many public calls about flames and smoke that the Fire Service must respond to – this can affect Fire Service availability to respond to genuine emergency calls 
  • the Fire Service can only legally extinguish the fire if it is threatening people or property, or looks like it is getting out of control. 

In order to address these problems, officers propose amendments to the fire bylaw to:

  • allow for more types of cooking and heating fires to be lit outdoors, on private land, without a permit. These would include wood-fired pizza ovens, braziers and chimenia but not hangi or umu fires
  • make it clear that all fires in public places require a permit
  • make it clear which fires on private land require a permit
  • limit the circumstances in which a fire can be used to burn rubbish
  • include information on how to safely manage a fire
  • include more information about application forms and fees
  • provide the Council with powers to extinguish an outdoor fire that does not comply with the bylaw (which can then be delegated to the Fire Service).

Traffic bylaw review

The traffic bylaw is made under the Land Transport Act 1998 and the LGA. It enables the Council to specify different types of parking (for example, metered parking and residents’ parking) and to set times and fees for parking, as well as offences against the bylaw (for example, failure to display a valid coupon or pay-and-display receipt).

An initial review of the traffic bylaw by Council staff as found it remains the most suitable form of bylaw under the terms of the LGA and the LTA to address parking-related matters in Wellington. Minor amendments to the traffic bylaw are proposed in order to:

  • ensure the traffic bylaw provides for the use of electronic sensor meters and other technology to monitor parking, and to pay for parking
  • provide more flexibility on road markings (for example, removing the requirement that parking spaces be marked out)
  • address public submission proposals that were out of scope of a review in 2011 and referred to this review
  • make minor clarifications and remove references to repealed legislation.

Have your say on the bylaw reviews

The Council is keen to know what residents, ratepayers and stakeholders think about the proposed amended traffic bylaw and fire prevention bylaw.

The initial findings and recommendations on both bylaws are summarised in statement of proposal documents which from later this week will be available:

  • online
  • at the Council service centre, 101 Wakefield Street
  • at city libraries
  • by calling the Council on (04) 499 4444
  • by emailing info@wcc.govt.nz with your address. We will then send you a copy.

From 28 August, you can make submissions on both bylaws on the Wellington City Council website, email your submission to policy.submission@wellington.govt.nz, or post it to Traffic and Fire Prevention Bylaws Review, Freepost, Wellington City Council, PO Box 2199, Wellington.

If you wish to make an oral submission to Councillors on the bylaws, please indicate this on the submission form and ensure that you have included your contact details. We will contact you to arrange a time for you to speak.

For further details please contact:

Cr Paul Eagle Fire bylaw  (021) 673 630
Cr Andy Foster Traffic bylaw (021) 227 8537 or (04) 476 9220
Richard MacLean  City Council Communications (04) 801 3578 or (021) 227 8180