Wellington City Council votes against withdrawing from Let's Get Wellington Moving

3:08 pm on 29 June 2023
Artist impression (subject to detailed design) of Courtenay Place in Wellington.

An artist's sketch of how Courtenay Place in central Wellington might look. Photo: Supplied / Let’s Get Wellington Moving

Wellington City Council have voted against withdrawing from the Let's Get Wellington Moving program.

The plan for a multi-billion dollar overhaul of transport was labelled "a ram raid" on inner-city businesses by one critic during a debate at a council meeting today.

The Wellington City Council was hearing views on a motion to step back from the Let's Get Wellington Moving project, which includes banning cars from the Golden Mile between Lambton Quay and Courtenay Place.

The convener of the lobby group SOS Courtenay Place, Barry Wilson, told councillors that the plan would kill shops and restaurants.

Other submissions called it a move towards making the city more sustainable.

This afternoon's vote was tight, with nine councillors in favour of carrying on with the controversial project, and seven voting to pull out.

One of those who favoured withdrawal, councillor Diane Calvert, said despite being disappointed by the vote, she was glad the Let's Get Wellington Moving board was finally being responsive.

"The main thing is that we've really put the spotlight on the failings of the actual structure, the governance of the whole programme.

"We've had more transparency, more information from them in the last three weeks than I've seen in the last three years."

Councillor Tamatha Paul, who supported the project, said although today's meeting was pointless in parts, it acknowledged how the plan was good for the community and she was confident it would continue to be supported.

Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau said she was not surprised by the vote and would be writing a list of amendments for the plan taking into account businesses' views.

She will liaise with the Let's Get Wellington Moving board to become a member.

Six councillors have signed a motion calling for the council to withdraw from the nearly $8 billion project, which features tunnels, light rail, bike and bus lanes, footpath changes and speed limit alterations.

On Wednesday retailers made a last-ditch plea to the council to drop the ban on vehicles in part of the CBD.

Wholesale and groceries supplier Moore Wilson's was among retailers who have joined forces to oppose the plan to remove cars from the golden mile.

Managing director Julie Moore said the scheme would make accessibility more difficult for her customers.

Johnson Street homeware store owner Nicola Cranfield said it would make things difficult for customers with mobility issues and damage CBD shops' turnover.

However, Greater Wellington regional councillor Thomas Nash said he was in favour of the proposal because more people would visit stores and bring life back into the area.

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