Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 10. 1965.
Morrison On Town Plan …
Sirs,—As chairman of the Town Planning committee and as the City Council nominee on the University Council, I am pleased to see student interest in the Town Plan, for I was a student myself. It does not seem very long ago.
It is not correct, however, to say that the Minister has the final say on the acceptance of the plan. The procedure is for the plan to be sent to the Minister of Works and to contiguous Local Authorities so that they may state what requirements of theirs should be put on the plan. When this has been done, the plan is adopted by the council and thrown open to objections by any interested parties. It is quite common for the local authority to object formally to its own plan. These objections are heard in the first instance by the local authority, in this case the Wellington City Council, and the final appeal is to the Town and Country Planning Board. This procedure may take many months.
The public exposure of a plan in the "draft" stage, as has been done in Wellington, is not usual and not required by statute. It was done partly to demonstrate to the public that a plan had been prepared, as stated by me on on December 9, 1964. All the essential features of the plan, as displayed, were produced during Mr. Connell's ½ years in Wellington and on a specific instruction to get out a plan by the end of 1964, even if he had to put a "ring round" certain areas as redevelopment areas, if time did not permit of full details being worked out. For the Architectural Centre to claim that the plan was formulated since Mr. Connell left is nonsense.
I do not know where you got the information that the plan will cost £50,000,000. There may be some confusion as to what is meant by the cost of a plan. The cost of the redevelopment of private buildings which are governed by the plan may well be £50,000,000 or more, but the cost in the public sector, viz, roads, reserves and parking buildings, will be no more than £6,000,000, a figure which, if spread over 20 years, is less than we are spending now.
As to the multi-level development area in Willis Street, please do give me credit for giving it the name in the brochure "pie in the sky." This is Mr. Connell's conception. He made a model of it with his own hands. My first reaction was much the same as that of everyone else, being, "what will it cost?" and "will it ever happen?" As to the cost; it would cost £8 million to £10 million to buy the land and existing buildings, and about £30 million to construct the new buildings shown in the plan.
"Will it ever happen?" With regret, I think not. As I see it, we would have to get 95 owners all agreed as to procedure and timing, or find someone with £10 million to buy up the area and spend £30 million on development. That someone will not be the council. In overseas countries by and large this sort of development, where it exists, has been done by private enterprise. I leave you with this thought. Where in New Zealand could this sort of thing be justified if not in Wellington? Where in Wellington could this be justified except at the traffic bottleneck between Stewart Dawsons and the sea? If it is not done, will we in 20 years' time regret it? In the 20 years covered by the plan, on present indications there will be spent some £60 million on commercial buildings in Wellington, so the concept is not really out of scale if development could (or should) be concentrated in that area.
With regard to the "Gabites and
Beard's proposals, the first point is that Mr. Gabites did not present it as a "take it or leave it" proposition, but as a basis for study. It has been studied, but the conclusion is that the roading system shown would be quite inadequate to take the traffic. That is our advice from de Leuw Cather & Co., the Director of Roading, the Commissioner of Works and the City Engineer. Also, Mr. Gabites chose not to include the underground railway extension, but to envisage a system of free minibuses. All the technical advice we have had from traffic experts is that the underground will be essential in 15 to 20 years' time. I feel sure that your readers must agree.
W. G. Morrison.
Don Hewitson, editor of the Town Plan feature, replies—"I admit the error regarding the final acceptance of the plan However, I did not state that the public sector of the plan (roads, reserves and parking buildings) would cost £50,000,000, I said that the total investment from both this and the private sector would cost this amount."
Sirs,—As a sitting Councillor, a past student, and as the Wellington City Council appointee on the University Council, I feel disposed to offer some comment on the suggestions in Salient that some students should stand for the City Council.
I do not take seriously the idea that 100 students might stand. I think that the task will be to find one or two. There is a deposit of £3 which is forfeited by any candidate who does not poll 10 per cent of the votes cast for the successful candidate with the lowest number. Any funds available should therefore be concentrated in support of one or two candidates.
The next thing is to get elected. None of those who stood as independents were elected in 1962 and the chances are improved by being on a ticket. It seems that the Labour ticket is full now, but there are still vacancies on the Citizens ticket.
Supposing we get our student elected, what particular contribution can he make just because he is a student? The ramifications of the City Council business are such that a councillor's first year or two, or indeed his first term of three years, tend to be something of an apprenticeship, and he makes a more effective contribution in a second term. It is one thing to make provocative statements at a Council meeting and make the headlines, but quite another to exert full influence in committee where most of the real job is done. Still, do not let me discourage you. William Pitt was Prime Minister of England at the age of 24.
What I must point out is that the chairman of an important committee will spend at least ½ working days per week on council affairs, plus many calls on his spare time and weekends. This is a heavy commitment. I am all in favour of young people taking an active part in public affairs, but they must realise what they are taking on. Perhaps you will find the right man.
W. G. Morrison.
Sirs,—The allegations made in Pettipoint (July 18) against the wife of the Director of the American Poverty Programme are nothing more than a cheap smear on a family which has spent millions of dollars for the public welfare.
It is high time that Latent emerged from his (or her) anonymity and signed his (or her) name to these petty points.
The most apt comment on the column came from that same source when it described itself as "dashing away brief comments on things we know nothing about."
A. R. Lowe-Holmes.