Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Wellington council to vote on 30-year greening plan

Wellington City Council will today consider a 30-year plan for improving and creating new green spaces across the central city.

Council says greening the inner city is one way of supporting peoples’ well-being and the native environment while addressing climate change.

The Green Network Plan and implementation framework is the result of overwhelming feedback heard during the draft Spatial Plan consultation, says Wellington Mayor, Andy Foster.

“We’ve received strong community feedback over many years about the importance of greening our Central City, especially with a rapid increase in the number of people attracted to live in, work in and visit downtown Wellington,” said Mayor Foster.

“We’ve analysed the amount of green space we need over time given predicted population growth and I was delighted when the Council unanimously supported the creation of a 30-year funding programme in the Long-term Plan to acquire land and create park spaces.

“If this plan is adopted, we would create two new urban parks – the first on the corner of Taranaki and Fredrick Streets, enhance 20 existing urban spaces, and double the number of trees to 4,000 in the central city over the next 10 years.

“Reaching these proposed targets are critical in supporting the health and well-being of our growing residents, workers and visitor populations while helping to address the climate and ecological emergency all Council’s declared in 2019.”

Artist impression of the Green Network Plan for Wellington
Studio Pacific Architecture artist impression of the Green Network Plan

Wellington city’s draft Green Network Plan and Implementation Framework is a programme to grow and better maintain the trees, shrubs, gardens, and grass that make up ‘green’ areas across the central city.

Council says it has overlaid the predicted residential growth, building densification, and planning initiatives such as Let’s Gets Wellington Moving to identify what level and quality of green spaces are needed to help:

  • address the effects of climate change such as reducing carbon levels, improving water quality;
  • improve and create habitats for biodiversity;
  • make the city more liveable and resilient;
  • support people’s health and well-being, and community connections.

Pūroro Āmua Planning and Environment Committee Chair, Iona Pannett says: “Greening the city isn’t limited to building new public parks for people to use – it’s also living with nature and making space for manu (birds) and our indigenous flora and fauna in streets, parklets (sidewalk extensions), community gardens, plazas, and laneways.

“Planting car parks, roofs or even walls of buildings can also help reduce pressure on our stormwater infrastructure which can struggle in storms, the frequency of which is expected to increase in the coming years.”

Deputy Chair for Pūroro Āmua Planning and Environment Committee, Tamatha Paul says: “Te Whanganui-a-Tara has a strong history of how our natural waterways and native plants supported iwi and settlers to thrive and develop into Aotearoa’s vibrant capital city.

“We’ve lost many spaces and habitats as the city has developed and roads, offices, squares and footpaths have been built, leaving only 9 percent of our central city as a green space.

“We are working with Mana Whenua on a long-term partnership so the City can benefit from their knowledge and expertise in restoring native habitats, with a particular focus on improving the health of the city’s streams.”

Council says the updated drafted plan also highlights the opportunities to partner with other organisations to green areas and encourage the use of sustainable design across the city – which has already begun.

If adopted, the plan will also be included in the District Plan process around open spaces and greening the city.

The draft plan and framework will be considered by the Planning and Environment Committee today. You can read these in the meeting agenda on the Council website. 

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