Wellington City Council’s City Strategy Committee this week agreed the Council would provide the support necessary to help the people of Wellington’s largest suburb develop a long-term vision for the area and a Karori community plan.
Cr Diane Calvert, Portfolio Leader for Community Planning and Engagement, says the Council is committed to working more closely with communities across the city to better understand local issues and aspirations, and community-led planning is key to that.
“I’m a strong advocate that local communities know best what they need now and in the future, what will work and the best way to overcome challenges, and this is a real opportunity to co-create a master plan for the suburb.
“It’s about a lot of things – what’s above the ground and what’s below the ground, but ultimately it is about people and how they want to live and move around their suburb.”
Cr Calvert says Karori residents have already flagged some issues through earlier discussions around medium-density housing and the town centre, and this broader look will be an opportunity to look more closely at these, and to work creatively together to help identify potential solutions.
“It will also be an excellent forum for on-going discussions about the sale and redevelopment of the Karori campus.”
Councillor Andy Foster, Portfolio Leader for the Karori Community Plan and also for Urban Development, says this is a fantastic and exciting opportunity to develop an integrated long-term plan for Karori.
“I see it encompassing everything from transport, infrastructure and housing to the town centres, natural environment, sense of place, community activities, heritage and character. I know from experience that Karori people will be absolutely keen to get involved in creating the future for our community.
“We’re keen to tap into all that expertise, local knowledge and passion so we have a much clearer idea of the opportunities and challenges, and what’s important to people,” he says. “The first step will be working alongside community leaders, groups and businesses to form a steering group to make this happen.”
Fellow Onslow-Western Ward Councillor, Simon Woolf, says the initiative is a great example of councillors and the community working closely together to get us to this point.
“We’re now really looking forward to working together to develop a plan for the future of our community.”
Councillors Calvert, Foster and Woolf had a tent at the Karori Lions Karnival and Fair last month where they encouraged people to say what they love about the suburb, or want to see improved or created. They also gathered the names of people keen to be involved in the community planning process.
Cr Foster says this was just a small way to start letting people know about the wider engagement coming up.
“We’ll be working with the community to make sure people are aware of the opportunities and ways they will be able to participate, and encouraging them to share their ideas.”
A community plan will be developed over the next 12 months. Any new proposals or specific projects requiring funding that are identified as part of the planning process will be considered alongside other city priorities when the Council reviews its Long-term Plan next year.