HuttNZ

Local News, Current Affairs and Events for the Hutt Valley Wellington New Zealand

Posts Tagged ‘Development

Lower Hutt: River realignment to affect Mill Street and popular Walking area

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Despite angry and strenuous objections from Lower Hutt Mayor David Ogden, Greater Wellington Regional Council will proceed with consultation on the taking of houses for the Mill Street stopbank and the narrowing of the dog-walking area alongside State Highway 2 north of Melling.

GWRC’s Hutt River Advisory Subcommittee, which includes three Hutt City councillors as well as mayors and regional councillors, earlier this month decided to approve “in principle” the flood protection works that only recently came to light, surprising and angering locals.

Recently GWRC told 14 Mills Street residents that up to a dozen houses might have to be bowled to make way for a straightening of a bend in the Boulcott-Connolly Street stopbank that engineers say constricts the river.

But flood protection manager Graeme Campbell told the subcommittee that it was wrong to suggest, as reported from the residents’ meeting, that up to 40 houses along Connolly Street might have to go.

He also assured a Rotary clubs delegation that the Hutt River walking trail along the right, or western bank, built by Rotarians, would be recreated in the remaining narrow corridor between the river and a possibly widened highway.

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Engineers believe the river-channel widening is required to slow floodwaters as much as possible opposite the floodplain-encroaching Transpower electricity substation and Safeway Storage buildings before it reaches Melling Bridge. But it means the park-like river verge now used by dog-walkers and many others for open space recreation will be lost to a new river berm and heavy river-slowing vegetation plantings.

Rotary Club of Hutt City member Robin Maud made a public submission for all nine Hutt Valley clubs, saying they agreed flood protection is paramount. However, the river corridor had evolved into a public recreation zone that should be preserved as much as possible in any new works.

“The results of your determinations here will affect whatever future generations will have for recreation in that area,” Mr Maud said.

Residents of the Western Hills did not have many flat reserves among their suburbs, and a large number of people from the hills came down to the river bank for recreation of all types along the river, not just dog walking.

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Rotary’s submission says alternatives dismissed by engineers, and other new ones, should continue to be investigated. Among their points were:

* The right (western) bank along this reach was the most highly-used section along the entire river, with over 100,000 visits per year.

* GWRC had not properly considered retreating the eastern bank, which had less recreation appeal.

* There were other river control measures such as rock lining and groynes that would allow retaining a wider berm and more views.

* The Transpower substation would have to be moved sometime in the future and then the right bank could be preserved.

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Rotary wanted GWRC to retain the maximum right-bank berm, ensure access points on the right bank to the river and beaches, maintain river views, and minimise buffer planting, which screened river views.

Above all, Mr Maud said, it wanted to be assured this was a preliminary decision, and GWRC would engage in wide community consultation. The council had already been very cooperative, he said. GWRC flood protection officers gave committee members an assurance that they would do so.

A few Mills Street residents came to the meeting, but didn’t speak publicly, saying they were there to observe the council’s processes. They had expressed shock and anger to the meeting that told them their houses were now, they had said, worthless, unsaleable and not worth continuing to put money into maintaining until GWRC took them and paid them compensation under the Public Works Act.

Mayor Ogden told them, ”I’m sorry you’ve been put through what you have been put through. I’m pretty perturbed about it, and needless to say it’s not good enough.”

Flood protection engineer Jacky Cox said a number of flood works designs had been investigated and this was only a starting point for consultation.

The river could not be deepened because of erosion danger, and the need to maintain a constant river gradient and level as at 1998. The left (eastern) bank was not considered for channel widening because it already had an established vegetation ”buffer zone”, removal of which would cause greater erosion. There was much more room available on the right (western) bank for a wider channel, buffer zone and berm. Rock lining was a possible alternative to a large vegetation buffer zone on the right bank.

After a lot of questioning, but no discussion or statements by councillors, committee chairman and Hutt Valley regional councillor Sandra Greig put the motion and immediately said ”All in favour?” But Mayor Ogden said he’d like to speak to the motion.

He said he wouldn’t vote for the motion because it showed ”a lack of foresight and consideration of other options. I know we are the largest populated floodplain in the country and flood defences are paramount. I’m not going to vote for it because of the impact it may have on the Waimare Croquet Club and Mills Street.”

Cr Ian Buchanan, chairman of the catchment management committee that will also have to approve the measures, said ”This is not a final decision, we’re just agreeing to [the engineers’] preferred option. This is about them consulting; those who are concerned should take heart” and a different result could happen.

Councillors worried about what the consultation process would be, as there is no formal requirement for one under council rules, but the motion passed with only Mr Ogden’s nay.

Later, in discussion of the Boulcott, Mills and Connolly Streets stop banks, Mr Ogden again chided officers for the ”suffering” caused to Mills Street residents by the officers’ ”secrecy.

”As a long-time Hutt Valley resident, I never heard of Mills Street having to be taken.”

He pointed to the Belmont Flats residential neighbourhood which had successfully resisted GWRC attempts to increase flood protection but was still there as an encroachment on the river. (Not mentioned at the meeting, but implied in council papers, the Safeway site is also a floodplain encroachment that GWRC could order removed by the designation process.) The committee wasn’t asked to vote on Mills St.

But Mr Ogden said, ”This is a mistake by GWRC.” It wasn’t necessary to take the Mills St houses, and the stopbank didn’t have to be of the same larger construction as the new Ewen-Ava one. He said he wants the engineers to find another solution to save the houses. He was there as the residents’ voice on the issue and it wasn’t a political fight between Hutt City Council and the regional council.

”I know you think I’m always coming here and complaining, but it’s fertile plains to complain about. I’m very disappointed to have to come and do it.”

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August 2, 2009 at 3:37 am

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Lower Hutt: More redundancies hit Hutt Valley

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Announced late today two Lower Hutt firms, laundry powder manufacturer Unilever will make 33 people redundant, while furniture maker Formway will shed 50 staff.

Formway chief executive Alan Buckner says the company, which opened in the 1950s, and recently won design award has decided to outsource its manufacturing and focus on design, sales and marketing.

Formway hopes 15 to 20 people will be offered jobs with the company it is outsourcing to but does see overall job losses.

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July 29, 2009 at 9:03 am

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Lower Hutt – Mills Street houses affected by Stopbank move

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“It’s been a bolt from the blue,” said Matthew Flood, a resident of Mills St, Boulcott, for 37 years.

Residents had not been properly consulted on a Greater Wellington regional council plan to move a stopbank east, meaning up to 12 homes would go, he said.

“The bigwigs decided our homes should be bulldozed simply because we’re in the way.”

Flood protection manager Graeme Campbell said the council needed to move the stopbank to boost its flood protection.

The Hutt River was narrow near Mills St and there were fears the existing stopbank would not cope with a severe flood. “We just can’t afford a failure in the defences.”

A big flood in 1898 had prompted the building of stopbanks. The council was now considering two options.

One was to move the stopbank 30 metres to the east, meaning four homes would have to be shifted.

The second was to move it further, placing eight more homes in the firing line.

The council hoped to confirm its plan by the end of this week, Mr Campbell said.

Homes would be bought and moved, rather than bulldozed, he said. If homeowners refused to sell, land could be seized and compensation paid under the Public Works Act.

Mr Flood said he had never seen the stopbank threatened by a flood.

“The natural flow of the river curves away from Mills St, so any scouring is more likely to affect the opposite bank.”

A Mills St resident of 57 years, Tse Wk, said the council’s plans were not essential and a blow to the whole street. “I’ve got no idea why they want to do it.” A simpler option would be to clear the riverbanks of rubbish and debris.

The council has held two meetings with Mills St residents.

Hutt River advisory subcommittee member Peter Glensor said any work was five to 10 years away.

The matter came to a head when a Mills St house went up for sale two months ago and was bought by the council, Mr Glensor said.

“We didn’t think it was reasonable for someone to buy it, then be told of the situation.”

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July 22, 2009 at 9:37 am

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Petone: New Motel Development seeks resource consent

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The new motel development is at resource consent stage and will be situated at 44 Cuba Street, just off Jackson Street. It will incorporate an adjacent property and has the backing of the developer Mr Rudings.

Mr Rudings says he learned a lot from building Boulcott Lodge (opens end of July) in Lower Hutt (see below)
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and he is confident that he can avoid the problems that delayed it when it comes to the Petone motel.

His application for resource consent is based on a 21 unit property on the corner of Cuba and Heretaunga Streets.

To try and avoid any difficulties with neighbours he says he personally visited 25 neighbours to explain the proposal. Consultation also included two presentations to the Petone Planning Action Group and local residents.

A local urban design consultant was also used to make sure the two-storied building blends in. The design will make the motel look like three buildings, so it does not look out of place amongst residential properties, he says.

The site currently features a dilapidated house and a large building that was once used for car upholstery.

The feedback he has got from neighbours is that they believe the motel will improve the area.

The design includes traffic calming measures in the entrance of Heretaunga Street, which he will pay for.

”That will slow down the boy racers and make the place look much better.”

The proposed design does not conform with the District Plan on three aspects but Mr Rudings says they are all minor and he is confident that he will get consent.

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July 21, 2009 at 8:16 pm

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Upper Hutt: Private Wind Turbine possible on Emerald Hill

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A 15 metre high wind turbine to be installed on private land (situated next to the trig station) at Emerald Hill owned by Adam Blackwell has past its first hurdle after being accepted by the Upper Hutt City Council.

It will provide power to the owners Main Road North property with its generated net power fully used by the house.

The decision by the council is the first stage in the planning process and sees the council acting as the “requiring authority” only. It will be subject to normal resource consent requirements.

Emerald Hill is a dominant landscape feature for residents of Maoribank, Brown Owl, Emerald Hill, Parkdale, Birchville and for users of State Highway 2.

An earlier report commissioned with regard to recent cellphone tower installation at the Emerald Hill site says

“Although the ridgeline has been comprised by power lines running across its northern face, the presence of a cluster of cellphone towers close to the summit will increase the visual encroachment into the skyline.” 

The cellphone towers are regarded as utilities and as such have dispensation within the Councils District plan, this private  installation of a wind tower will now facing normal Resource Consent processes which call for public input.

The question is will the public dispute its installation.

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July 21, 2009 at 6:26 am

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Lower Hutt CBD Development plan

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A $20 million new city council building is in the offering for Lower Hutt to give the city’s tired central business district a boost.

Retailers, business leaders and the mayor agree the central city lacks a heart and there is tentative support for the Hutt City Council’s ideas.

Along with the “multi-purpose civic building” proposed for High St near the Hutt River, councillors are also supporting a new bridge from State Highway 2 into the city, a riverside promenade and a green area around the NewDowse art gallery.

The ideas, backed by a council committee last night, are part of longterm plans to revitalise the central city by 2030.

A report prepared for the council says the central business district is unfriendly to pedestrians, full of big box developments and lacking in entertainment options.

Lower Hutt Mayor David Ogden has called for help from a local retailing figure, in the manner of Newmarket Business Association’s Cameron Brewer, because of the big number of empty shops in the city.

“I’ve been getting more and more frustrated that there doesn’t seem to be an effective way of addressing the lack of vitality and vibrancy here,” Mr Ogden said.

The new council building was a good idea because the council’s existing premises would need $15 million to $20m of earthquake strengthening in 2018, he said.

“I’m not prepared to put it off, so we would have to move out in any event … It behoves us to have a place where people will gather and have a social life together.”

The proposed building roughly costed at $21.5m would include 6000 square metres of space for the council, as well as space for parking and shops.

The council report suggests that moving into the struggling southern end of High St could spark development in the area, while a nearby public square would link the city and the Hutt River.

But moving from the council’s present Laings Rd site would also mean finding a new owner, such as a hotel.

Professionals Hutt City owner John Ross said the central business district “lacks soul” at present.

It would be easy to find a developer who could take on the existing council buildings, he said.

One retailer, Mandeep Pala, said there had been plenty of consultation about the proposals, though he was ambivalent about the council’s planned new home.

“If they could spend money on other things, that would be better. But it [council repairs] hasn’t been done in 50 years, so I think it’s probably justified.”

An artist's drawing of the proposed changes looking from Laings Rd toward the Hutt River.

Artists impression of development in Laings Road Lower Hutt looking towards Hutt River.

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July 8, 2009 at 7:41 pm

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Lower Hutt: Whats new in the Entertainment scene

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I really get encouraged by people willing to give things a try in the hospitality scene, and at present there is a lot going on in Lower Hutt. While most businesses are looking to retrench or have gone into survival mode, I have to tip my hat to these four in trying something new in the Lower Hutt entertainment scene.

Loaded Hog High Street Lower Hutt

Loaded Hog High Street Lower Hutt

Loaded Hog

Recently taken over by James Thwaites who comes from a background in the hospitality business in Wellington. Major plans are on the cards with a current project to develop a 50 seat dining area upstairs. Also longer term is a 500 capacity band and nightclub venue next door, together with the intention to lauch a One Red Dog upmarket pizza restaurant above the night club. This restaurant will have an outside balcony looking out over High Street. That al fresco concept might also be a feature carried over into the upstairs part of the Loaded Hog. Paul Rowan, of ex Mange Tout is group executive chef. Paul has already changed the existing restaurants menu and the aim is to bring the Stonegrill concept to the new upstairs restaurant upon completion.

Las Margaritas Daly Street Lower Hutt

Las Margaritas Daly Street Lower Hutt

Las Margaritas 

Open about a week in the former Workshop Cafe in Daly Street.

The result of a dream of 14 years by owner Andres Pimentel, is a restaurant that is a combination of Mexican casual and upmarket cusine. Chef Roberto Amaro from Puebla Mexico will be in the kitchen while Andres sister Marina is the maitre’d.

They hope to share their culture through the food and ambience they have created.

Several other outlets are in the planning and while not yet confirmed here are the other two.

Possible Upmarket Burger Restaurant Cadillac

Possible Upmarket Burger Restaurant Cadillac

 

Cadillac

Further down southern High Street is a conversion of a former curry joint into Cadillac an upmarket burger outlet. Work is still being completed on fitout.

Possible Mediterranean Food Warehouse

Possible Mediterranean Food Warehouse

Mediterranean Food Warehouse
 
(check out the review on The Med Warehouse here)
 
Opposite McDonalds in High Street,  this is a further outlet for the Mediterranean Food Warehouse group (Newtown Wellington).
Construction has taken longer than predicted through resource consent delays. Offering hard to source food supplies from the Mediterranean along with a cafe with an upmarket pizza outlet.
It is encouraging that these developments are progresing in the Hutt and offer a greater hospitality experience.
I wish them all the best, and if you know of any other new dining outlets opening soon please let us know at HuttNZ@gmail.com or dm www.Twitter.com/HuttNZ

Written by HuttNZ

July 6, 2009 at 3:08 am