The place of the possible

Maintaining and improving existing services

In the past 10 years, the Council has invested in city infrastructure and services for the benefit of the community. While the key investment priority has been infrastructure, we have also made big increases in spending on community sport and recreation facilities, tourism promotion and events.

We are committed to maintaining the high levels of service already delivered to Wellington’s residents, along with improving services in some key areas. Our overall work is focused on:

Maintaining resilient infrastructure and providing core services

Our work to deliver core infrastructure and services is concentrated in three areas:

Enabling democratic local decision-makingTop

We aim to build trust and confidence in our decisions and delivery. Our activities include managing local elections, informing residents about the issues we face and making decisions in the best interests of the city. We also have an obligation to ensure that the special position of mana whenua is acknowledged and reflected in the way we make decisions about the city and its resources.

In August 2014, we began live-streaming all Council meetings on our Youtube channel, as part of our work to improve the transparency of, and access to, our decision-making. We have had a steady increase in viewer numbers, particularly for matters with high public interest. We also put infrastructure in place to enable remote participation in Council meetings in the future.

We ensure that Wellington residents are able to access Council information and services through our 24/7 contact centre. We also keep a record of our work, which people can access through the City Archives.

We regularly engage with our iwi partners on strategy and policy matters, particularly for the purposes of the Resource Management Act 1991. We also collaborate with many organisations to organise Matariki celebrations and to support community events.

Maintaining strong resilient infrastructureTop

An important focus for the Council is making our core infrastructure – our transport infrastructure and the water, wastewater and stormwater networks – more resilient and better able to cope with environmental shocks, such as earthquakes and the impacts of climate change.

Wellington accepted into the 100 resilient cities network

A thousand cities across six continents applied to be among the first 100 cities selected to receive technical support and resources over 3 years. As a selected city, Wellington receives:

Wellington's Chief Resilience Officer will be appointed by October 2015. Their job will be to engage diverse stakeholders, identify Wellington's resilience challenges, opportunities and priorities, and develop and begin to implement a City Resilience Strategy over the following 2 years.

Improving water network resilience

We have an ongoing work programme to improve the resilience of our water network and its ability to withstand earthquakes. This includes checking the seismic strength of water reservoirs, pump stations, telemetry systems and critical pipeline fittings. This year, we finished seismic strengthening on three reservoirs and we are continuing renewals and strengthening on a further three. We also installed 12 emergency water tanks, two auto-shut valves and continued upgrading the network to meet new firefighting standards. This resilience work is intended to enable the network to retain 80% of its water after a significant earthquake.

Earthquake resilient buildings

We aim to improve the earthquake resilience of the city’s buildings, while also supporting the preservation of important heritage buildings for future generations. This year we continued strengthening the Council’s heritage buildings, such as the Clarrie Gibbons building in Post Office Square and the Thistle Hall. We removed the portico between the Central Library and the Civic Administration Building and the Council agreed to a plan to strengthen the Town Hall and revitalise the Civic Precinct. We also extended the existing rates remission scheme, so that earthquake prone heritage buildings with a Heritage NZ listing are eligible for a longer rates remission of up to 10 years.

Improving our transport network

We have made significant progress in our work to strengthen our roading network. This includes strengthening tunnels and bridges throughout the city and building new retaining walls on key transport routes. This year we completed strengthening the Hataitai Bus Tunnel and continued remedial work on the Aotea Quay Bridge, which will be completed in October 2015. We also completed storm repairs to sea walls at several sites around the city.

As well as upgrading the resilience of the transport network, we are also undertaking major projects designed to improve traffic flows and pedestrian connections, and to prepare for future urban development and growth. This year we completed an upgrade of Victoria St that will act as a catalyst for future growth in the Central City. Our Johnsonville roading upgrade, which will be completed in the second half of 2015, will ensure that the network is prepared for current and future developments around the Johnsonville Mall.

Providing core services and functionsTop

The Council provides a range of core regulatory services and functions for residents and ratepayers, including:

Public health and safety

We are obligated to maintain public health standards by regulating food and liquor outlets, animals, trade waste and managing environmental noise problems. We provide vital public health services, such as public toilets, cemeteries and crematoria. Our public safety role also includes helping to prepare our communities for civic emergencies such as earthquakes, tsunamis and flooding, through the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office.

Our public health regulation work is supported by a focus on education programmes. This year, as a result of our education work, we had a significant reduction in closures of food businesses. We also transferred responsibility for trade waste to Wellington Water, which will enable region-wide waste management.

Our public safety work is focussed on maintaining Wellington’s reputation for being a safe and vibrant city. Our work includes partnering with Police and community organisations for community patrols, a local hosts programme, volunteer programmes and graffiti management. We have established a city-wide approach to graffiti management, which has resulted in an improvement in graffiti levels across the city. We also partnered with the CBD residents and retailers association to implement an “Eyes On” communications network for retailers.

Building and development control

As well as planning for future urban growth, we also control building and development work in accordance with the provisions of the Building Act 1991, the Resource Management Act 1991 and our District Plan. We are also required to administer an Earthquake-prone building policy to mitigate earthquake risk in the city’s built environment.

This year we again achieved accreditation as a Building Consent Authority with a healthy clear pass on the first visit from the assessors. We made amendments to our Rates Remission Policy in order to increase resilience.

Waste collection and reduction

We maintain the city’s landfills and provide waste and recycling collection services. We also have programmes to reduce Wellington’s environmental footprint by encouraging residents to recycle, reduce waste and use energy more efficiently.

Each year we generate up to 8 gigawatt hours of energy from gas emissions at the Southern Landfill. Our Kai to Compost food-waste collection service caters to medium-to-large organic waste producers and keeps waste out of the landfills by converting it to compost for local gardens.

This year 99% of residents used our kerbside recycling service at least once a month. The amount of waste sent to city landfills has been stable over the past few years, despite steady growth in the city’s population.

Optimising use of community services and facilitiesTop

We offer a range of community services and facilities that provide residents with social and recreational opportunities, enable them to participate in their community and enjoy a high quality of life. We provide social housing to help meet the needs of Wellington’s most disadvantaged residents. We also provide a range of social and recreational grants to residents and community groups.

During the last few years our investment in community and recreational facilities has increased the quality and range of services available to residents. At the same time, we have also developed significant excess capacity in many areas. Over the next few years we will be focussing on increasing usage of our community services and facilities to make better use of the capacity we have on offer.

Providing sporting and recreational opportunitiesTop

We provide a wide range of sporting and recreational facilities to encourage people of all ages to get involved in social and recreational activities. We manage the city’s gardens, beaches and green open spaces to provide attractive, safe and accessible places for leisure and recreation. We also provide funding for conservation attractions such as the Zoo and Zealandia, which attract visitors, educate and inform, and help protect our fauna and flora. Our sporting facilities raise the city’s profile by hosting national and international events and our conservation facilities attract visitors from within the city and outside the region.

This year we completed a major upgrade of the Keith Spry Pool in Johnsonville. This new complex, along with the future development of the Johnsonville library, will provide recreational opportunities for local residents for many years to come.

We made drainage improvements and other upgrades at several sportsfields around the city. We also continued our programme of playground upgrades to provide better recreation opportunities for children. Usage of the Council sportsfields and facilities is continuing to increase steadily. Our main focus for the next few years will be to make better use of these facilities.

This year we finalised our Biodiversity Strategy and developed an implementation plan to restore Wellington’s indigenous biodiversity. We continued funding pest control initiatives and provided more than 80,000 plants as part of our plan to plant two million trees by 2020. We also upgraded tracks in the town belt and reserves, replenished the sand at Oriental Bay Beach and beautified other beaches and coastal areas around the city.

Providing libraries and community spacesTop

We want Wellington to be a people–centred city where people feel welcome. To achieve this goal, we provide libraries, halls and community centres that act as focal points for community activity and provide opportunities for people to connect with each other. The Council has made substantial investments in the recreational space. These include:

Promoting strong communitiesTop

We support partnerships and programmes in Wellington’s communities in order to build local resilience. We also partner with other organisations to ensure the city’s social infrastructure supports our vulnerable residents, along with providing social housing for those in need.

In addition, we had more than 120,000 leisure card uses, indicating that Council is reaching the most marginalised in society and involving them in city life.

We support and fund strategic partners in the social sector, ensuring that specific community activities occur that contribute to the community’s wellbeing.

The Council also actively manages and monitors a wide range of community health and safety services such as alcohol free areas, food safety and dog control.

Providing social housingTop

We provide housing for 4,000 people in 2,200 units. This year we completed year 7 of our 20-year upgrade programme, which saw the completion of our eighth major upgrade projects and renewals on smaller complexes. We continue to win architecture awards for our upgrade projects. We also have ongoing programmes to provide positive social contact for our tenants and help them to improve their lifestyles. This year:

Funding community projectsTop

We have a range of grants that we use to fund community organisations and projects. We also administer funds from other sources such as bequests. We fund organisations and individuals who demonstrate that they are strategic, sustainable and community-focussed with a significant presence in the targeted community. We fund projects in Wellington that fit fund criteria and are consistent with Council’s desired outcomes or priorities. This year we funded: