News | 5 June 2020
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Mayoral update for 5 June

Kia ora Wellington, I hope everyone is well, it’s great seeing more people in the city and we are looking forward to Alert Level One.

Wellington is a city of art and culture.
I have been talking with leaders in the public and private sector about getting people back into the CBD, which will be good for retail, cafes and restaurants. We are also working hard on an events programme to revitalise our city.

Ask anyone around town what project they’d like to see prioritised and chances are they’ll mention the Central Library. It’s a priority for you, and it’s a top priority for the Council too.

That’s why we’re doing everything we can to speed up the process to make sure we all get our beloved library back as soon as possible.

On Wednesday, Councillors and I agreed to speed up the project timeframes, with the revised process seeing early consultation with the community, as well as design work being progressed on options for the current building. We’ve been advised on a way to speed up the project by six to nine months, which is excellent news.

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We gave a clear message at Wednesday’s meeting that, while we are considering all options, the preference is to strengthen the current building.

We will allocate funding in the 2020-2021 Annual Plan to start the detailed engineering and architectural design process now. This will include the building services and if any refurbishment is needed.

We have also agreed to bring forward the consultation required under the Local Government Act in the Long Term Planning process, so we can get earlier decisions on the way forward.

There is still a lot of work to do, but I believe we are now on the quickest path available, while still meeting our legal obligations for everyone to have their say in this significant investment for Wellington and our communities.

Today is Arbor Day, marking the start of the native tree planting season in Wellington. This winter, Council’s Berhampore Nursery will provide 95,000 native plants for community, partner and council plantings.

Our goal to reach 2 million trees planted in the capital in 2020 has been slightly impacted by Covid-19, but we’re still aiming to reach 1,962,000 in total this winter. I’ll be joined by Councillor Teri O’Neill at a small planting event with volunteers.

As well as marking Arbor Day, we’ll be celebrating World Environment Day as a part of the Forest in the Heart of Wellington Project, plus Wellington being named one of the Tree Cities of the World.

And finally, congratulations to all the Wellington writers and illustrators announced this week as finalists in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

They are far too numerous to name individually, but locals are in the running for a host of prizes, proving once again that we really are the cultural and literary capital of New Zealand. Well done everyone, and good luck.

Thanks everyone, I’ll be back with another update soon.