We value our open, creative, cosmopolitan culture and the stories and identities it is built on.

Icon representing Triennium Plan goal: a circle with 3 circles and n shapes in it (representing heads and shoulders).

Strengthening the Town Hall

What we’re proposing: The Town Hall earthquake strengthening work has created an opportunity for Wellington to consider how it uses Civic Square. Since late 2014, the Council, Victoria University School of Music, and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) have been investigating the feasibility of a ‘music hub’. This would enhance Wellington’s reputation as the Capital of Culture. There are three possible outcomes of this work:

  • a standalone Town Hall – an earthquake strengthened Town Hall is not a music hub
  • an earthquake strengthened Town Hall is managed in a partnership between the Wellington City Council, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) and the School of Music; and
  • a full Civic Music Hub campus operating across the Town Hall, adjacent Municipal Office Building and the Michael Fowler Centre.

The viability of the music hub depends on successful fundraising by the NZSO and Victoria University, and securing a long-term lease/developer for the Municipal Office Building. If these conditions are met, the Council in 2017 is planning to provide Victoria University with the first right of refusal on the Municipal Office Building.

Why we're proposing it: The 2013 Town Hall strengthening scheme had a budget in the Long-term Plan (LTP) of $58 million and did not include any redevelopment or restoration opportunities. The LTP also indicated that the lease of the Town Hall as part of a music hub would trigger the Council to proceed with the earthquake strengthening work. In 2016, a new music hub concept design was developed, which reflected and updated the scope of works, further strengthening testing and solutions. This update is based on better knowledge of the strengthening complexity and options. It improves on the 2013 scheme by upgrading buildability and reducing construction works risk, and proposes that construction start in August 2018 and finish June 2021.

Cost and impact on rates: The estimated cost of the 2016 scheme is $89.9 million, which takes into account better information on the complexity of the required strengthening works, price escalation and a buoyant construction market. There is no impact on rates in the 2017/18 year. There is expected to be a rates impact from 2020/21.

New outdoor events, including Matariki

What we're proposing: We propose to expand Wellington’s arts and culture programme to include:

  • a new public event celebrating Matariki
  • a diverse, city-focussed outdoor event series

Why we're proposing it: City events and festivals draw significant audiences to Wellington and create opportunities for creative jobs and talent to thrive. They also support a unique experience for locals and visitors, as well as our identity and reputation as the Capital of Culture. A significant new public event celebrating Matariki and a diverse, city-focussed outdoor event series are proposed to enhance the city’s cultural growth and identity. It will also help fill winter gaps in the current arts and cultural calendar. To develop the Matariki festival, the Council will work with our iwi mana whenua partners and leading indigenous arts groups. The second initiative, a diverse outdoor event series, will inject colour and vibrancy into the city and suburban areas. It is also an opportunity to take a more joined-up approach to the delivery of visual arts information and promotion of the city’s galleries, museums and public artworks.

Cost and impact on rates: The new events will cost around $500,000, which will be funded from the City Growth Fund and other areas. No impact on rates.

Removing pool fees for parents and spectators

What we're proposing: Remove swimming pool fees for spectators, parents, or guardians of children under 8 years old.

You can find full details of our proposed fee changes in section 3 of the supporting documentation (1.4MB PDF).

Why we’re proposing it: As part of making recreation more accessible, the Council is looking at ways to support an accessible learn-to-swim environment – particularly for those people who might find entry fees a barrier. The removal of swimming pool fees for spectators, parents, or guardians of children under 8 years old supports a more inclusive, family- focussed approach to developing children’s water safety knowledge and skills.

Cost and impact on rates: The proposal will reduce revenue from Council pools by $100,000 per year. Less than 0.1% increase in rates.

On the horizon

This project is still under development, and needs further work with our partners and stakeholders.

Antisocial street activity

What we’re proposing: A suite of projects focussed on effective, practical measures to address antisocial behaviour on our streets will be developed in consultation with appropriate external agencies. The goal will be to provide alternatives to staying on the street and reduce both the numbers of people begging and incidences of antisocial behaviour.

Why we’re proposing it: In 2016, the Council adopted a Street Management Policy to address street begging, but did not tag any funding for its inception. Since then it has become clear that antisocial street behaviour (including begging) has increased. While helpful information has been collected, and those on the streets have been directed to social agencies for assistance, there are still issues that need to be addressed.

Cost and impact on rates: Options and costs are currently being investigated.