Statements of Service ​Provision

6 Urban Development
Tāone Tupu Ora

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.

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.

The Council’s key roles are to provide public spaces and infrastructure, and 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 our work involves partnerships with developers and home owners who want to build or extend, with commuters who want to get to and from work or school, with businesses taking goods to market and with everyone who lives, works and plays in the city.

Our urban development objectives

Smart growth / urban containment

Resilience

Character protection

Our urban development activities contribute to us being:

People–centred: They promote the adequacy and safety of our homes and buildings and reduce the risks of injury and damage from earthquakes.

Connected: They connect people with places and make them easy to find and functional.

An eco-city: They promote intensive development rather than sprawl into green spaces and encourage the greening of streets, buildings and places. They promote walking and riding on buses and bikes.

A dynamic central city: They promote accessible and safe places where people want to live, work, and play and where they can meet to share events and ideas. They encourage a built form and urban culture that reflects the energy and diversity of the people and they shape a place where ideas, innovation and difference can be expressed and supported.

Case study

Victoria Street transformation

Victoria Street has been identified as a growth area by the Wellington Urban Growth Plan 2015. We expect the Victoria Street area to accommodate 1,100 new apartments catering for at least 2,500 people and 37,000 m² of new commercial space. The completed street improvements are to help support and encourage property owners and developers to invest in and regenerate this area to create a great inner city neighbourhood.

The works included laying 9,000m of new pipes and ducts for existing and future underground services, widening and significantly improving footpaths on both sides of the street, creating two new paved parks and planting hundreds of new trees and plants. The project also included installing a separate kerbside cycle lane between Vivian and Abel Smith streets, which will be trialled. All of these significantly change the look and feel of the area.

The project is an example of what can happen when we collaborate. We have worked with the NZTA to design and build the project using an alternative delivery model which enabled us to complete the project in about half the time. We have also worked with developers, local businesses, residents and our own creative team to develop branding for the area that starts to provides a unique identity and 'sense of place'.

We want Victoria Street to be an inner-city neighbourhood where people want to live, work and play. The work we've undertaken will help to make this happen.

 

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

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 primary document that manages 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:

  • urban planning and policy development
  • waterfront development
  • public space and centres developments
  • ​built heritage development.

What we achieved

We used the Built Heritage Incentive Fund to focus on heritage areas in Newtown and Cuba Street and enabled listed heritage building owners to access Council grant funding to assist with seismic strengthening projects.

We funded upgrade projects in the CBD to commemorate WW1, in partnership with the Crown. These projects, which include Memorial Park and the Parliamentary precinct, formed the foundations of Wellington’s 100 year commemoration of the landing of New Zealand troops at Gallipoli. Completing these two projects involved working in partnership with key central government agencies and the community. The upgraded spaces around both the cenotaph and war memorial have delivered an enduring legacy for the city and Country, by providing a more open and pedestrian friendly area for Anzac Day dawn services and other events.

We upgraded, refurbished and beautified our town centres and streets. A series of small tactical projects were layered within our larger projects, these included:

How we performed

This year while some measures did not reach their target, our performance has improved. Residents are satisfied with the character of the central city and waterfront and our efforts to preserve the city’s heritage continue.

We measure our effectiveness at facilitating high quality urban development

Residents (%) who agree the city is developing in a way that takes into account its unique urban character and natural environment

This year while we have not met our target for this measure, our performance has improved. Only 9% of residents do not believe that the city is developing in a way that takes into account its unique urban character and natural environment, while 25% have a neutral stance on this issue.

District Plan change appeals

Result: 67% of our District Plan appeals were resolved (Target: 90%. 2013/14: 100%; 2012/13: 100%).

This year four District Plan appeals were made, one of which was resolved. The three outstanding appeals all related to the same plan change and the Court hearing for this has now concluded, although a decision is yet to be made.

Source: WCC City Planning and Design

Residents (%) who agree the central city is lively and attractive

Residents (%) who agree the central city is lively and attractive

This year, 24% of residents disagreed that their local suburban centre was lively and attractive, while 28% neither agreed nor disagreed with this statement.

Residents (%) who rate their waterfront experiences as good or very good

The proportion of grants funds successfully allocated (through milestones being met)

Result: 100% (Target: 95%. 2013/14: 100%; 2012/13: 100%).

Source: WCC Community Networks

We measure our effectiveness at protecting the city’s built heritage

District Plan listed items that are removed or demolished

Result: 0 (Target: 0. 2013/14: 0; 2012/13: 1).

Source: WCC City Planning and Design

Residents (%) who agree heritage items are appropriately valued and protected in central city and suburban areas

This year only 11% of residents did not believe that heritage items were appropriately valued and protected in the central city, while 25% neither agreed nor disagreed with this statement. Only 13% of residents did not believe that this statement applied to their local suburban area, while 39% had a neutral stance on this issue.

What it cost

Operating
Expenditure
($000)
Actual
2015
Budget
2015
Variance
2015
Actual
2014
6.1.1 Urban Planning and Policy Development
Expenditure 1,667 1,819 152 1,867
Revenue (13) (20) (7) -
Net Expenditure 1,654 1,799 145 1,867
6.1.2 Waterfront Development1
Expenditure 12,283 11,226 (1,057) 10,568
Revenue (11,099) (3,863) 7,236 966
Net Expenditure 1,184 7,363 6,179 11,534
6.1.3 Public Spaces and Centres Development2
Expenditure 2,437 1,763 (674) 1,996
Revenue (167) - 167 -
Net Expenditure 2,270 1,763 (507) 1,996
6.1.4 Built Heritage Development3
Expenditure 863 1,026 163 955
Revenue - - - -
Net Expenditure 863 1,026 163 955
  1. Under budget due deferred vested asset revenue relating to the wharf pile strengthening on the public space of the Clyde Quay Wharf.
  2. Over budget mainly due to more time being charged and is largely offset by savings in urban planning and policy and built heritage development.
  3. Under budget mainly due to less time being charged to activity.

Capital
Expenditure
($000)
Actual
2015
Budget
2015
Variance
2015
Actual
2014
6.1.1 Urban Planning and Policy Development
Expenditure - - - 535
Unspent portion of budget to be carried forward n/a - - n/a
6.1.2 Waterfront Development1
Expenditure 2,466 2,465 (1) 5,882
Unspent portion of budget to be carried forward n/a 1,985 - n/a
6.1.3 Public Spaces and Centres Development2
Expenditure 16,466 3,395 (13,071) 3,325
Unspent portion of budget to be carried forward n/a 443 - n/a

  1. Budget includes $1.74 million carried forward from the 2013/14 year for the Waterfront Development Programme. Under budget due to delays in various waterfront renewal and upgrade projects including Frank Kitts Park, Clyde Quay public space and the TSB cladding renewal.
  2. Budget includes $1.85 million carried forward from the 2013/14 year for the Parliamentary Precinct and Tinakori improvement projects. Over budget due to costs of Victoria Street and Lower Cuba Street improvement projects approved by Council on 30th September 2014 as part of the 2014/15 Capital Expenditure Review. Offsetting this is changes to scope for the Eva/Leeds streetscape development and Kilbirnie projects (approved by GFP on 26 May 2015) as well as delays to the Lombard Lane and Newlands canopy projects.

 

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

Like all cities, we control building and development work according to the provisions of the Building Act 1991, the Resource Management Act 1991 and their District Plans. 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:

  • building control and facilitation (building consents)
  • development control and facilitation (resource consents)
  • ​earthquake risk mitigation – built environment.

What we achieved

We achieved accreditation as a Building Consent Authority (BCA) with a healthy clear pass. We must obtain accreditation to be able to issue building consents, complete inspections and issue a code compliance certificate. For the past two bi-annual assessments, we have been given a clear pass on the first visit from IANZ assessors.

We made amendments to the rates remission policy to increase resilience. The existing rates remission scheme was extended, so that earthquake prone buildings with a Heritage NZ listing are eligible for a longer rates remission of up to 10 years. This change provides more support for owners who undertake strengthening of these nationally important buildings.

We continued earthquake strengthening of Council properties. The Council continued with the strengthening of its own buildings, including the strengthening of heritage buildings such as Clarrie Gibbons building in Post Office Square and Thistle Hall. The removal of the Portico was also completed, improving the seismic performance of the City Library and the Civic Administration Building. The aim of this strengthening program is to improve our resilience post- earthquake, while also supporting the preservation of important heritage buildings for future generations.

'QuakeSafe' initiative. The Earthquake Commission has provided funding for a residential property assessment programme for 100 randomly chosen homes. As part of this initiative, we arranged for the assessment of 33 homes. The elements required to 'Quakesafe' these homes will be collated and costed by a quantity surveyor and used to model the impact of an earthquake across the city.

How we performed

This year in most cases, we complied with legislative requirements for timeliness and customers were increasingly satisfied with our services. While we did not achieve all our goals for mitigating earthquake risk, we are working towards reaching this target in future years.

We measure the timeliness of our legislative compliance processes and related services

Building consents (%) issued within 20 working days

Result: 98% (Target: 100%. 2013/14: 92%; 2012/13: 100%; 2011/12: 96%; 20010/11: 94%).

Source: WCC Building Compliance and Consents

Code Compliance Certificates (%) issued within 20 working days

Result: 96% (Target: 100%. 2013/14: 99%; 2012/13: 97%; 2011/12: 98%; 2010/11: 99%).

Source: WCC Building Compliance and Consents

Land Information Memorandums (LIMs) (%) issued within 10 working days

Result: 81% (Target: 100%. 2013/14: 91%; 2012/13: 100%; 2011/12: 100%; 2010/11: 100%).

This year we received a higher than average number of LIM requests, which coincided with periods of training for new staff. This low performance was restricted to some quarters, with 100% compliance achieved in other periods.

Source: WCC Building Compliance and Consents

Resource consents (non-notified) issued within statutory timeframes (20 working days)

Resource consents (%) that are monitored within three months of project commencement

Result: 99% (Target: 90%. 2013/14: 98%; 2012/13: 99%; 2011/12: 91%; 2010/11: 90%).

Source: City Planning and Design

Subdivision certificates (%) – Section 223 certificates issued within 10 working days

Result: 100% (Target: 100%. 2013/14: 100%; 2012/13: 100%; 2011/12: 100%; 2010/11: 100%).

Source: City Planning and Design

Noise control (excessive noise) complaints (%) investigated within one hour

Result: 98% (target: 90%. 2013/14: 99%; 2012/13: 98%; 2011/12: 99%; 2010/11: 98%).

Source: City Planning and Design

Environmental complaints (%) investigated within 48 hours

Result: 99% (Target: 98%. 2013/14: 100%; 2012/13: 98%; 2011/12: 99%; 2010/11: 98%).

Source: City Planning and Design

We measure the satisfaction of the services we provide

Customers (%) who rate building control services as good or very good

Result: 76% (Target: 70%. 2013/14: 69%; 2012/13 70%).

Source: WCC GetSmart User Survey12

Customers (%) who rate development control services as good or very good

Result: 82% (Target: 70%. 2013/14: 76%; 2012/13: 53%).

This year our performance in this measure has lifted, significantly exceeding the target. In order to achieve this improvement, we revamped our resource consent page to make it more user friendly and to ensure that our processes are easy to engage with and understand. We also conducted targeted forums with those architects who engage with us regularly in order to encourage better understanding of each other’s needs. We reinforced to staff the importance of communicating effectively with applicants, so that they understand when and why we make decisions.

Source: WCC Development Control Services Customer Satisfaction Survey13

 

We measure the standard of the services we provide

Building Consent Authority (BCA) accreditation retention

Result: Retained (Target: to retain status. 2013/14: retained; 2012/13: retained; 2011/12: retained; 2010/11: retained).

Source: WCC Building Compliance and Consents

We measure our progress on earthquake risk mitigation

Earthquake prone building notifications (section 124) (%) issued without successful challenge

Result: 99% (Target: 100%. 2013/14: 100%; 2012/13: 100%; 2011/12: 100%; 2010/11: 100%).

Source: WCC Earthquake Resilience

Earthquake strengthened Council buildings – programme achievement

Result: Not achieved. (Target: Monitor progress and stay on target. 2013/14: Partially achieved).

This year due to delays in strengthening the Town Hall and the Portico, we have not been able to achieve this target.

Source: WCC Earthquake Resilience

We measure uptake of the Financial Assistance Package (FAP)

Weathertight houses – Financial Assistance Package (number of claims accepted and number of remediations claimed)

We accepted 8 claims and had 8 remediations claimed (No target. 2013/14: 3 claims accepted and 4 remediations claimed; 2012/13: 49 claims accepted and 23 remediations claimed).

Source: WCC Financial Planning

What it cost

Operating
Expenditure
($000)
Actual
2015
Budget
2015
Variance
2015
Actual
2014
6.2.1 Building Control and Facilitation1
Expenditure 12,542 12,801 259 12,494
Revenue (8,972) (9,736) (764) (7,504)
Net Expenditure 3,570 3,065 (505) 4,990
6.2.2 Development Control and Facilitation2
Expenditure 5,685 5,728 43 5,404
Revenue (2,367) (2,943) (576) (2,755)
Net Expenditure 3,318 2,785 (533) 2,649
6.2.3 Earthquake Risk Mitigation – Built Environment3
Expenditure 1,823 1,469 (354) 1,736
Revenue - - - (7)
Net Expenditure 1,823 1,469 (354) 1,729

Capital
Expenditure
($000)
Actual
2015
Budget
2015
Variance
2015
Actual
2014
6.2.3 Earthquake Risk Mitigation – Built Environment4
Expenditure 4,036 17,794 13,758 3,908
Unspent portion of budget to be carried forward n/a 1,522 - n/a
  1. Over budget due to lower than expected building consents from Christchurch City Council, where we have a contract to support the Christchurch recovery.
  2. Over budget mainly due to lower than expected revenue from resource consents.
  3. Over budget due to higher staff costs which has attracted an additional allocation of organisation over-head.
  4. Budget includes $1.67 million carried forward from the 2013/14 year for earthquake strengthening programme work. Under budget due to rephasing of the programme agreed by the Council in September 2014. The key project is the strengthening of the Town Hall.

12This is an online post-application survey of building consent applicants. This year, we received 442 responses.
13This is an online post-application survey of resource consent applicants. This year, we received 95 responses to the survey question concerning customer satisfaction.