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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 24. 26th September 1973

And now for a new Aro Street..

page 5

And now for a new Aro Street...

Drawing of an old man sitting amongst skyscrapers

The asthetics of Aro Street are to be improved by an urban renewal scheme. Re development is the name of most of the game. The Wellington City Council will build council flats and other areas will be destroyed and rebuilt by private developers Properties will be bought under compulsion, leases amalgamated and then sold to private developers.

The Council wants to alleviate the housing shortage "by injecting an increasing supply of housing into the area" and also wants to decrease substandard housing in the area.

Some residents, realising the implications of this plan recently organised two meetings on the issue. The first meeting included an outline of the plan by the town planning section. It became clear during the meeting that the council wants to develop an area of high density housing. Up to 10 storey blocks are envisaged in some areas. An interesting comment by one planner was that in high rise buildings young married couples don't "require living close to the ground is others do." It seems that the prime factor is cramming as many people as possible into as small as space as possible (at 80 people to an acre).

The project is to consist primarily of private development for private ownership. Private development is not for flats, in 20 years if you want to flat in Aro street you will have the choice of a council flat or a council flat.

At the first meeting the council neatly sidestepped questions on private development which will upgrade the area out of the price range of most of the present residents. At no time did the council consider that pressure on landlords to improve their neglected oremises could upgrade the area.

Also involved is the process that the council calls "relocation" of residents. When [unclear: CrPorter] talks of the ease of "relocation" and one remembers the motorway destruction, one wonders just how easy it will be.

The council is not totally insensitive however. At the first meeting it was stated that local residents could upgrade their own homes but no priority would be given to them. At the second meeting, held last Monday night, Cr Shand stated that such residents would now be given priority. This meeting involved a more detailed explanation of the scheme, including a slide-show of the exteriors of Aro Street and the interiors of beautifully furnished council flats — which incident ally are let unfurnished.

The total plan, involving a little mentioned motorway feed-on will drastically affect the area. How sure is the council that the residents want to live in council blockhouses, divided into single blocks, blocks for married couples and blocks for the elderly? Admittedly the housing in the area needs improvement. The improvement can start right now if the council enforces its housing regulations.

Objections to the scheme can be made and legal help is available at 48 Aro Street on Tuesdays from 5.30pm — 7.30pm.

The council has been surprised by public interest in their plans. They should be further surprised by the residents uniting to actively voice their views on the future of their area.

1)Copies of the plans are available at:
  • Central Public Library (ask in the NZ Room, Room 6, upstairs)
  • Brooklyn Branch Library
  • Room 8, 6th floor. Municipal Office Building (behind Town Hall). Use the Wakefield Street entrance and take the lift.
2)You have till 4pm Wednesday October 24 to register your objection to the proposed plans.
3)Sometime after October 24 the City Council will publish (in the "Public Notices" of the Evening Post) a summary of the objections they have received. If you think you might want to support or oppose someone else's objection, you can inspect that summary in the City Council's offices. You will have one month from the date of the publication in the Evening Post to send in your notice of support or opposition to any of the objections already made.