Statements of Service Provision

6 Urban Development
Tāone Tupu Ora

Preserving Wellington as a compact, vibrant and attractive city, now and into the future

BY THE NUMBERS

205,199

Wellington’s population forecast for 2016
and an increase from 200,000 in 2014. 27


Urban development – at a glance

Outcomes Connected-city People-centred city Eco-city Dynamic-city
Relevant LTP objectives

“Investing to grow” through establishing a programme of major projects that grow the economy and deliver returns on investment;

Investing to maintain and improve existing services, including making infrastructure more resilient and the city’s transport system more efficient;

Increasing the use of existing assets rather than spending on new infrastructure;

Improving asset management practices to better manage risk and the timing of asset replacement; and

Achieving ongoing efficiencies from shared services and improved customer experiences.

LTP key activities Urban planning, heritage, and public spaces (including waterfront development). Building and Development control.
Relevant LTP projects Urban regeneration; Urban regeneration agency; Protecting Wellington’s heritage buildings; City resilience; Revitalising Civic precinct and strengthening Town Hall; Cheering up streets and laneways; Waterfront Development Plan and Frank Kitts Park; and Medium density housing.
Operational expenditure Operational expenditure (as per financial summary).

The Council’s urban development work includes urban planning, controlling building activity and land use, assessing risks from earthquake-prone buildings, and developing and enhancing public spaces. We provide public spaces and infrastructure, and regulate to plan and control development so the city can support a strong economy and a high quality of life, in an environment that is both attractive and sustainable. All of this work involves partnerships with developers and home owners who want to build or extend, with commuters going to and from work or school, with businesses taking goods to market, and with everyone who lives, works and plays in the city.

Our work helps to make Wellington a compact, vibrant, attractive city in which it is easy to get from place to place, whilst also reducing adverse effects on the environment. This work is crucial for ensuring people’s health and safety in the buildings they live and work in, and in the public spaces they use. It is also vital for the environment, because a city with a smaller carbon footprint produces fewer emissions and consumes fewer resources.

We fund these services because they matter to the lives of individual Wellingtonians, and to the community as a whole. They help to protect the most vulnerable people, keep people safe and healthy, and strengthen communities. These activities also provide opportunities for people to live healthy lifestyles, to reach their potential, and to enjoy themselves.

Did you know?

We now have a Wellington eDistrict Plan. The ‘ePlan’ replaces the original 3 folder hard copy of the District Plan and the online version that comprised up to 150 separate PDF documents. The ePlan means you can now filter the District plan based on the property you are enquiring about. You can check it out here: http://eplan.wellington.govt.nz/#!Start.

6.1
Urban planning, heritage and public spaces ​development
Whakahaerenga whare me te whanaketanga

Wellington is a compact, vibrant, attractive and safe city – and we want to keep it that way

What we do and why

Urban planning provides guidance on how and where the city should grow. It’s important this retains the things residents like about Wellington, its compactness, the “heart” around the city centre and harbour, and the character of its hillside residential areas.

The Council is required to prepare a District Plan under the Resource Management Act 1991. The District Plan is the main document used for managing land use and development within the Council’s territorial boundaries.

We also look after public spaces, including the waterfront. Development of public spaces enhances people’s enjoyment of the city and contributes to our civic pride and ‘sense of place’.

Our activities include:

Over the year these activities contribute to the following outcomes:

Outcome Outcome statement
People-centred city
  • The waterfront offers safe open spaces that welcome and engage people encouraging them to stay
  • Heritage buildings contribute to the city’s distinct identity and enhance its sense of place
Dynamic-city
  • Public spaces are important and provide accessible opportunities for relaxation, recreation and leisure for residents and visitors. High quality developments make the city a more attractive place to be
Eco-city
  • Urban planning is focussed on intensive urban development and alongside our urban containment policies are designed to prevent sprawls and enhance our transport and lifestyle choices

Did you know?

Wellington was ranked as the 12th most liveable city in the world by the 2016 Mercer Quality of Living Index.

Our key achievements

Work continued on the waterfront as part of our City Shaper to provide safe open spaces that welcome and engage people encouraging them to stay

As part of the proposed redevelopment of North Kumutoto and Frank Kitts Park, the Environment Court granted resource consent (to Willis Bond and the Council) for the development of a building at site 10 (10 Waterloo Quay), and for the North Kumutoto public space. In May 2016 a ground breaking ceremony was held for site 10 and construction commenced in June 2016. The detailed design for the North Kumutoto public space is underway with construction to commence in October 2016. Completion of the building and public space is planned for mid-2018.

During the year work continued on the design for the proposed redevelopment of Frank Kitts Park. The redevelopment includes renewal of the children’s play area, development of a recreation and events friendly “Harbour Lawn”, and the incorporation of a long-planned Chinese Garden. We continued liaising and coordinating with the Wellington Chinese Garden Society in regard to fundraising initiatives for the Chinese Garden. A resource consent application was lodged and public submissions made during June 2016.

External re-cladding of the TSB Bank Arena building to address weather tightness issues was also completed. The southern end of the building was altered to provide a small retail kiosk and public toilet facility. An overwhelming majority of residents rate their waterfront experience as good or very good.

Measure 2015/16 Actual Performance 2015/16 Target
Percentage residents who rate their waterfront experience as good or very good 92%
Improved performance
90%
2014/15 Performance
94%

Source: WCC Residents’ Monitoring Survey 2016

We completed work in public spaces that are important and provide accessible opportunities for relaxation, recreation and leisure for residents and visitors

August 2015 marked the completion of our $11 million project to revitalise the southern end of Victoria Street (between Dixon and Abel Smith streets). Transformation of the street to provide vibrant public spaces and essential underground services also supports long-term investment in the area.

Cable Car Lane is one of Wellington’s most visited tourist destinations and receives approximately 1.2 million visitors per year. To highlight the significance of this historic feature, and to create a better visitor experience, we worked with the Wellington Cable Car Ltd. and local property owners to upgrade the lane. The work makes Cable Car Lane more visible, improves access to the cable car, and improves ventilation and natural lighting. Designs were developed and consulted on during early 2016 and demolition of the existing canopy started in June 2016. To reduce disruption to the public and local businesses, works to the laneway were timed to coincide with the first major upgrade to the cable car.

Lombard Lane and Denton Park are being revitalised to create a more attractive pedestrian environment and support local businesses. During 2015/16 we developed detailed designs, in consultation with the public, for better surfaces, lighting and greenspaces. Tender and delivery of this project will occur during 2016/17 to allow works on the adjacent Victoria Street development (Cook Strait Properties) to be substantially complete.

We also undertook the following smaller laneway activation projects throughout the city:

The majority of residents agree the central city is lively and attractive.

Measure 2015/16 Actual Performance 2015/16 Target
Percentage of residents who agree the central city is lively and attractive 85%
Did not achieve
87%
2014/15 Performance
86%

Source: WCC Residents’ Monitoring Survey 2016

Did you know?

Through our Urban Activation Fund we did the following:

  • We installed cycle parking hoops at twelve locations within Wellington CBD, Kilbirnie and Newtown.  The brightly coloured hoops add a bit of fun to the street and allow cyclists to secure their bikes against theft or tipping over in strong winds
  • We worked with local artist John Fuller and Kilbirnie-based metal fabricators AE Tilley to develop feature signage to highlight the western entrance to Miramar and Maupuia
  • We installed a ‘Honeycomb’ greenwall, developed by local designers Pollen, on Egmont Street to bring some much needed greenery to the CBD
  • We launched the Bond Street community gardens with a “Garden Party” event featuring music, children’s entertainment, worm farm making, plant giveaways and environmental activities.  The community gardens provide a space for local residents and volunteers to grow and tend fruit trees, herbs and vegetables 
  • We gave Plimmer Steps a facelift with a deep clean, refurbished planting and fresh coat of paint on the Brig Gertrude fountain

Urban planning is focussed on intensive urban development and alongside our urban containment policies are designed to prevent sprawls and enhance our transport and lifestyle choices

To help increase housing supply we are identifying SHAs. These are areas where we can offer qualifying developments a streamlined resource consenting path (through the Housing Accords and Special Housing Act. To date we have created four tranches of SHAs – comprising 25 areas. These areas focus on our existing growth areas or are sites already zoned for residential development. Focussing in these areas ensures development is planned and contained within the overall urban area and provides for a range of housing types. During 2015/16 we approved a further four SHAs, including Shelly Bay, where we expect a high quality housing and mixed use development to be lodged in 2016. Our ‘Housing Choice and Supply’ programme will also help to provide additional affordable houses and different housing options in areas close to shops, community facilities and services, and public transport. In 2015/16 we consulted with five different communities as part of this programme. We already have medium density housing areas in Kilbirnie and Johnsonville and are currently prioritising Newlands and Tawa.

Building Our Resilience

Wellington has been selected as one of the Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities (100RC). Under the 100RC arrangement, Wellington is provided with support to develop a Resilience Strategy, and to commence implementation. 100RC provides support to the value of $US1 million to the City for this purpose, although not all of this support goes directly to Council. The strategy development process is public-facing and involves several sectors of the community as well as our partners GWRC, Hutt City Council and Porirua City Council. A Steering Group of experienced Wellingtonians provides oversight to the strategy development process.

Progress on the strategy will be considered by Council in September 2016, and the strategy approved by February 2017.  The strategy will build on four areas of focus: earthquake recovery, adapting to sea level rise, quality of life and economic prosperity.  Rather than replicating the substantial work that is already underway in these areas, the strategy aims to augment that work, and to boost existing efforts. Once developed, 100RC will provide support for the initial implementation of the Strategy.

The strategy is consistent with our Long-term plan’s commitment to improve Wellingtons resilience: investing to maintain and improve existing services, including making infrastructure more resilient and the city’s transport system more efficient.

The types of resilience activities undertaken during 2015/16 includes operational and new capital projects; capital renewals (e.g. including upgrades to infrastructure such as our roads, tunnels and bridges in order to maintain existing levels of service); seismic assessment of key Council-owned buildings (including earthquake strengthening of the Town Hall, Central Library and Council offices which forms part of the revitalisation work we are carrying out on the Civic Precinct); planning for emergency response and restoration of key life line, and planning for hazards and climate change.

Our performance

Quality of our urban planning, heritage and public spaces: We exceeded our target for residents satisfied with their waterfront experience, although the number was lower than last year. We did not meet our target for residents who agree the central city is lively and attractive, and the figure was slightly lower than last year. Our residents don’t agree our suburban centres are lively and attractive and we were significantly below target on this issue. We will continue to work with residents on projects such as our Business Improvement Districts to improve suburban centres. Further detail can be found in the section ‘Measuring our Performance’.

Finances

How it was funded

Services in this activity are funded through a mixture of general rates, fees and charges, and grants and subsidies.

What it cost 2015/16

Operating
Expenditure
($000) 
Actual
2016
Budget
2016
Variance
2016
Actual
2015
6.1.1 Urban Planning and Policy        
Expenditure 2,089 2,277 188 1,667
Revenue (25) (20) 5 (13)
Net Expenditure 2,064 2,257 193 1,654
6.1.2 Waterfront development 1        
Expenditure 1,618 933 (685) -
Revenue (299) 39 338 -
Net Expenditure 1,319 972 (347) -
6.1.3 Public spaces and centres development        
Expenditure 2,136 2,169 33 2,437
Revenue 2 - (2) (167)
Net Expenditure 2,138 2,169 31 2,270
6.1.4 Built heritage development 2        
Expenditure 1,264 1,498 234 863
Revenue - - - -
Net Expenditure 1,264 1,498 234 863
 Capital Expenditure ($000) Actual
2016
Budget*
2016
Variance
2016
Actual
2015
6.1.1 Urban Planning and Policy        
Expenditure - - - -
Unspent portion of budget to be carried forward N/A - - N/A
6.1.2 Waterfront development 3        
Expenditure 3,348 3,350 2 2,466
Unspent portion of budget to be carried forward N/A 5,478 - N/A
6.1.3 Public spaces and centres development        
Expenditure 2,049 848 (1,201) 16,466
Unspent portion of budget to be carried forward N/A 1,020 - N/A

* The capital expenditure budget consists of the LTP amount plus the carry forward from 2014/15.
1 Over budget due to professional fees incurred on several major projects.
2 Under budget due to lower than anticipated labour and contract costs.
3 Under budget largely due to delays in the refurbishment of TSB/Shed 6 and Frank Kitts Park development.

6.2
Building and development control
Māherehere tāone, whanaketanga wāhi tuku-ihotanga, wāhi tūmatanui
Top

We ensure developments do not harm the environment and that building works are safe and comply with the Building Code

What we do and why

We control building and development work according to the provisions of the Building Act, and the District Plans developed under the Resource Management Act. These controls are necessary to ensure that buildings are safe and compliant with the Building Code that resources are used sustainably for future generations, and that public health and safety is protected. They’re also needed to protect urban character and to preserve the city’s heritage.

We also have a statutory requirement to administer an Earthquake-prone Buildings Policy. The policy sets out processes to identify buildings that are below the required earthquake standards, and the requirements and timeframes for building owners to bring them up to the necessary standard.

Our activities include:

Over the year these activities contribute to the following outcomes:

Outcome Outcome statement
People-centred city
  • Under the Building Act and codes we protect public health and safety, and protect future users of land and buildings
  • Under the Resource Management Act and District Plan, we control work to ensure resources are used sustainably, public health and safety, and to protect future users of land and buildings. It also protects urban character and preserves the city’s heritage
  • Wellington’s high earthquake risk means this work is critical. It protects public safety, as well as preserving the city’s heritage and the economic investment made in buildings and infrastructure
Eco-city
  • We promote intensive development, rather than sprawl into green spaces, and encourage the greening of streets, buildings and places

Did you know?

The value of commercial building consents has consecutively increased over the last 3 years. The value of commercial space in 2013/14 was $271 million and is $359 million in 2015/16.

Our key achievements

We worked on the Building Act and codes to protect public health and safety, and protect future users of land and buildings

Working with central government, we lodged submissions to the following policy and proposed legislative changes: Rules Reduction, Fencing and Swimming Pools, and Licensed Building Practitioners Board. We also help other building consent authorities – Auckland, Christchurch, Kapiti, Wanganui and Westland – by providing inspections and/or consenting services.

Did you know?

We have retained our Building Consent Authority Accreditation since 2010/2011.

Wellington’s high earthquake risk means this work is critical. It protects public safety, as well as preserving the city’s heritage and the economic investment made in buildings and infrastructure

We continued our work to make Wellington safer through earthquake risk mitigation work. We did this by issuing notices to earthquake-prone buildings under the Building Act. At the end of this year we had 663 earthquake-prone buildings. The owners of two of these buildings are challenging the issuing of the notice through the determination process in the Building Act 2004. As these determinations are challenging the issuing of an earthquake prone building notice, further issuing of notices during 15/16 was put on hold pending a final decision on both determinations. The determinations upheld our process however both determination decisions are now being challenged in the courts. We are currently preparing our response to both court appeals. New legislation has been passed by Parliament and is awaiting commencement, which is expected to occur in June 2017.  The legislation introduces a new standardised process for the assessment and management of earthquake-prone buildings that all councils will need to adopt.

Under the Resource Management Act and District Plan we controlled work to protect the urban character and preserve the city’s heritage

Our Built Heritage Incentive Fund helps owners of buildings on the District Plan heritage list, or within heritage areas, maintain their buildings. The fund has $3 million to allocate over 3 years. A total of 15% of the fund is reserved for conservation-specific work and 85% for work related to earthquake strengthening. Through the fund we supported 24 projects with $980,000 of grants, these included: St Mary of the Angels on Boulcott Street, the Quaker Meeting House in Mt Victoria, buildings within the Cuba Street area, and other conservation projects28 .

Did you know?

Resident’s perceptions that heritage items contribute to the city’s character was 86% in 2014 and increased to 92% in 2016. Residents perceptions that they contribute to a local communities character was 67% in 2014 and 72% in 2016.29

We also funded the seismic restoration of the chimney on the historic Overseers Cottage at the Botanic Garden, and the grave and memorial restoration programme for Bolton Street Cemetery.

Our performance

Timeliness of building and development control services: We exceeded our targets for investigating excessive noise complaints and monitoring of resource consents. These results were however lower than last year. We met our targets to issue non-notified resource consents and sub-division consents in statutory timeframes, and actioned environmental complaints within 48 hours. Our performance was consistent with last year. We didn’t meet targets to issue building consents, codes of compliance and LIMs within statutory timelines. The timeliness of our building consents was lower than last year because numbers increased in the second half of the year and coincided with a period of recruitment and training of new staff. The timeliness for our codes of compliance was the same as last year. Over the year we issued 2139 codes of compliance with 74 not issued in the statutory timeline, of these 19 were historical issues that have subsequently been fixed. We are improving monitoring systems to improve our performance. Our LIMs performance improved since last year – a good result in light of the high volumes of requests. We were above our target for monitoring resource consents within 3 months of work commencing on site, although our performance was not as good as last year. Whilst the requirement to notify us of work starting on site is a condition of consent, we are not always notified. We often pick these up when the building consent is lodged for the work.

Quality of our building and development control services and progress on earthquake mitigation: The majority of our customers were happy with our building control services and we exceeded our target for this measure. This reflects the effort we put into helping our customers through their building consent and associated processes. None of our earthquake prone building notifications were successfully challenged over the year. Further detail can be found in the section ‘Measuring our Performance’.

Finances

How it was funded

Services in this activity are funded through a mixture of general rates and fees and charges.

What it cost 2015/16

Operating
Expenditure
($000) 
Actual
2016
Budget
2016
Variance
2016
Actual
2015
6.2.1 Building Control and Facilitation 1        
Expenditure 13,570 13,809 239 12,542
Revenue (9,251) (9,152) 99 (8,972)
Net Expenditure 4,319 4,657 338 3,570
6.2.2 Development Control and Facilitation        
Expenditure 5,807 5,981 174 5,685
Revenue (2,552) (2,899) (347) (2,367)
Net Expenditure 3,255 3,082 (173) 3,318
6.2.3 Earthquake risk mitigation - built environment 2        
Expenditure 1,323 1,710 387 1,823
Revenue - - - -
Net Expenditure 1,323 1,710 387 1,823
 Capital Expenditure ($000) Actual
2016
Budget*
2016
Variance
2016
Actual
2015
6.2.3 Earthquake risk mitigation - built environment 3        
Expenditure 2,224 2,175 (49) 4,036
Unspent portion of budget to be carried forward N/A 5,287 - N/A

* The capital expenditure budget consists of the LTP amount plus the carry forward from 2014/15.
1 Under budget due to higher building consent revenue and lower labour costs.
2 Under budget due to lower costs of grants and professional advice.
3 Under budget due to delays in the Earthquake Strengthening Programme, in particular the St James Theatre.

Urban development – overall summary

Progress was made towards this activity area in year one of the LTP. Importantly, customer satisfaction improved for our building control services which improves investment confidence and boosts economic gains. To maximise these benefits, improvements are needed to timeframes for issuing building consents. Significant improvements were made through the activation of city laneways. There were, however, delays to capital expenditure projects due to an underestimation in actual project costs. We need to improve in this area. Our activities in this area, once we have approved and begun to implement our Resilience Strategy, have the potential to make a greater contribution to the achievement of our outcomes in the future.