“We’ve been in negotiations for some time to acquire this land from the Kirva Trust, and I am sure all Wellingtonians will be delighted with this news. This supports my aspiration that our central-city is a really attractive place to live, work, play and visit,” says Mayor Foster.
“This development follows hard on the heels of the Council’s unanimous approval last month of a Green Network Plan with a vision to achieve a green central-city over the next 30 years to meet the goals of the climate and ecological emergencies we declared in 2019.
“We hear regularly, especially from our inner-city community, about the importance of providing high-quality downtown green spaces to meet the needs of our fast-growing inner-city population, as well as the tens of thousands of people who work in our central city every day, and all our visitors.
“I was pleased that Councillors also unanimously supported my inclusion of financial provision for the acquisition and development of multiple central-city parks over the next 30 years in our Long-Term Plan, adopted in June.
“This was specifically to recognise the need to provide for public open spaces to support central city population growth, and for that growth to help pay for them.
“I am delighted to announce this acquisition which meaningfully puts both these plans into action. This is a step towards ensuring our central-city is an even more desirable, liveable place with even stronger communities,” Mayor Foster says.
The council will purchase the 726 square-metre site from the Cheops Holdings Limited (associated with the Kirva Trust) to develop the park, and the Kirva Trust is building 75 not-for-profit social housing apartments in Frederick Street beside the new park.
Councillor Iona Pannett, Chair of the Council’s Pūroro Āmua Environment and Planning Committee and who represents the inner-city Pukehīnau Lambton ward, says: “This is really a win-win for the city overall, more social housing is being created while an important heritage building is being restored and a new green space created.
“Along with the apartment development Cheops Holdings Limited will restore the heritage-listed Chinese Mission Hall on the site to be repurposed for community and commercial use. The park will connect with the two buildings and the wider area.
Cr Pannett says the park is likely to include new plantings, trees, seating, recreational spaces and facilities which will be worked out with the local community through a design process.
Work on the apartment building has started and is on track to be completed by the middle of 2024. Planning, consultation, and design of the park will happen over the next few years.
The Council will be responsible for maintaining the park.