Fu­ture looks brighter for Jack Ilott Green

The Dominion Post - - News -

The con­tro­ver­sial sale of an in­nercity Welling­ton park is start­ing to look less likely af­ter city coun­cil­lors voted to in­ves­ti­gate ways of ‘‘sav­ing’’ it.

Mo­ments be­fore coun­cil­lors ap­proved the city’s 2016-17 An­nual Plan yes­ter­day, deputy mayor Justin Lester suc­cess­fully squeezed in word­ing that will see the en­vi­ron­ment com­mit­tee in­ves­ti­gate the prospect of pro­tect­ing Jack Ilott Green as a re­serve.

That would pre­vent the small park off Jer­vois Quay from be­ing leased to de­vel­op­ers to help fund a $100 mil­lion project to earth­quakestrengthen the town hall and re­vamp Civic Square.

‘‘For me, this is a 50-year de­ci­sion,’’ Lester said yes­ter­day. ‘‘We need to pro­tect our green space. If we end up with a build­ing on that site we won’t get it back.’’

He was sup­ported by Paul Ea­gle, who said the pe­ti­tion to ‘‘save’’ the green al­ready had more than 8000 sig­na­tures, and those peo­ple needed some cer­tainty they would be heard.

Iona Pan­nett also sup­ported Lester’s idea, point­ing out that coun­cil staff had hoped to get $8 mil­lion for a lease of the green, but their ex­pec­ta­tions had been di­alled

Celia Wade-Brown, Si­mon Woolf, Sarah Free, David Lee, Justin Lester, Iona Pan­nett, He­lene Ritchie, Ray Ahipene-Mercer, Paul Ea­gle, Mal­colm Spar­row, Mark Peck Andy Foster, Si­mon Marsh, Nicola Young, Jo Cough­lan back re­cently to about $2m, which made the sale a less at­trac­tive prospect.

Jo Cough­lan, who, with Lester, will be con­test­ing the may­oralty this year, did not sup­port his plan. She called it ‘‘a clas­sic case of elec­tion­eer­ing pol­icy be­ing made on the hoof’’ in­stead.

‘‘Ei­ther we’re go­ing to do this or we’re not,’’ Cough­lan said. ‘‘Tonight is not the right time to be mak­ing that de­ci­sion or cre­at­ing ex­pec­ta­tions we may not be able to meet.’’

Andy Foster agreed, say­ing it would be ‘‘lousy process’’ for the coun­cil to rule out leasing Jack Ilott Green with­out first find­ing out its true value, along­side other fund­ing al­ter­na­tives. ‘‘This just looks like a piece of pol­i­tics.’’ The threat of a fuel leak is forc­ing Toy­ota New Zealand to re­call nearly 37,000 cars, part of a global re­call of 2.8 mil­lion ve­hi­cles.

The re­call af­fected 36,961 new and used im­port Toy­ota and Lexus mod­els, Toy­ota said yes­ter­day. A possible fault in­volv­ing the char­coal can­is­ter fit­ted to the fuel tank could cause the can­is­ter to crack. ‘‘If the crack is present, is it has the po­ten­tial to ex­pand and cause a mi­nor fuel leak when the ve­hi­cle has a full tank of fuel.’’

Toy­ota said there had been no re­ported cases of the fault in New Zealand.

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