Up­grade a lift for Hutt City

East­bourne’s po­lice ‘sta­tion’ to go on sale

The Hutt News - - FRONT PAGE - By NI­CHOLAS BOYACK By SIMON ED­WARDS

One of the most well-known build­ing in Hutt City is about to get a $6 mil­lion up­grade.

Jim Zadi­mas, whose fam­ily own the land­mark Gibson Sheat build­ing, says Hutt City has a good fu­ture.

The planned work in­cludes earth­quake strength­en­ing, tidy­ing up the out­side and build­ing a new five-storey carpark.

The carpark­ing build­ing, with space for up to 75 ten­ants’ cars, will re­place a two-storey build­ing be­hind the main tower. If there is spare space it could be used by the public, he says.

Zadi­mas says the fam­ily are elec­tri­cians and own other prop­er­ties in the city.

The build­ing has a 50 per cent oc­cu­pancy, in­clud­ing the law firm af­ter which the build­ing is named.

Di­rectly op­po­site Queens­gate, it is one of the most recog­nis­able build­ings in the city.

Zadi­mas hopes the up­grade and the ad­di­tion of carparks will boost oc­cu­pancy.

The fi­nal fig­ure is yet to be determined by en­gi­neers, but he hopes the strength­en­ing work will be to at least 80 per cent of the earth­quake code.

‘‘We will get it as close as we can to 100 per cent.’’

Ten­ants in the cen­tral city are look­ing for build­ings that have been strength­ened, he says.

Fu­ture work up­grad­ing the Hutt River stop banks could re­sult in the loss of much of the River- A lo­cal cop has been sta­tioned in East­bourne since 1908. Not any more.

Bays res­i­dent and Greens Party re­searcher Robert Ashe claims a re­or­gan­i­sa­tion of Welling­ton re­gion po­lice re­sources in 2012 ‘‘came with the ex­plicit prom­ise bank carpark. Pro­vid­ing carpark­ing will make the build­ing more at­trac­tive for ten­ants, he says.

It has an in­ter­est­ing his­tory dat­ing back to the 1950s. For many years it was the home of the Hutt Val­ley Power and En­ergy Board.

The up­grade is a sign that the fam­ily have con­fi­dence in the lo­cal econ­omy, he says.

‘‘We think there will be growth in the Hutt, whether it is 10 years or 15 [away] . . . but there will be growth.’’

Work will begin in three to five months and will in­clude paint­ing the out­side. we wouldn’t lose our com­mu­nity constable’’.

How­ever, Constable Dave Tweedale has been based at Pe­tone Po­lice sta­tion since the be­gin­ning of the year, and the po­lice house in Mu­ri­tai Rd is now with Land In­for­ma­tion NZ (LINZ) to be put up for sale.

Hutt Po­lice Area Com­man­der Sean Hansen says there is ‘‘noth­ing se­cret’’ about the change. Own­er­ship of the Mu­ri­tai Rd po­lice prop­erty was trans­ferred to LINZ last year and the East­bourne Com­mu­nity Constable has also been re­spon­si­ble for Mo­era and Seav­iew since 2012.

A month ago Hutt South MP Trevor Mal­lard raised con­cerns about a drop in the num­ber of po­lice pa­trols in Wainuiomata, which he said less­ened the crime de­ter­rent ef­fect and feel­ings of safety among res­i­dents. Hansen told Hutt News then that the new ap­proach na­tion­wide, in line with a Pre­ven­tion First strat­egy, was to pool re­sources and send pa­trols when and where they were needed most rather than hav­ing staff dot­ted around var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘Mod­ern polic­ing is about be­ing out there on the street in our com­mu­ni­ties – not be­hind a desk in a po­lice sta­tion.’’

Hansen said he un­der­stands peo­ple’s ‘‘emo­tional at­tach­ment’’

to hav­ing a manned po­lice sta­tion in their own neigh­bour­hood but there had been a 39 per cent re­duc­tion in recorded of­fences in East­bourne be­tween 2009 and 2014 (202 recorded of­fences in 2008/2009 com­pared with 123 in 2013/2014).

Of pri­or­ity call- outs to East­bourne – ‘‘when you need a po­lice of­fi­cer NOW’’ – 92 per cent were han­dled by a re­sponse unit sent by the Welling­ton Com­mand Cen­tre, not the East­bourne constable.

Res­i­dents won’t see any change in the level of po­lice ser­vice, he said.

But Ashe pre­dicts there will be a com­mu­nity protest when they see a ‘for sale’ sign go up on the po­lice house and of­fice in Mu­ri­tai Rd.

‘‘It was such a vis­i­ble pres­ence, quite near the shops . . . it’s one of the land­marks of the place.

‘‘From hav­ing a per­ma­nent and highly vis­i­ble po­lice pres­ence in our com­mu­nity, we are now be­ing of­fered two hours of clin­ics each week, held in our lo­cal li­brary,’’ Ashe said.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously, we will have to whis­per our con­cerns to the po­lice so as not to disturb other li­brary users.’’

Ashe said the big­ger story be­hind the loss of a com­mu­nity constable ded­i­cated to East­bourne and sta­tioned there is bud­get cuts.

Last week’s Bud­get an­nounced an ex­tra $164 mil­lion over the next four years for po­lice but the Greens Party says data from the Par­lia­men­tary Li­brary econ­o­mists con­firms that in in­fla­tion- ad­justed ‘‘ real’’ terms, po­lice spend­ing peaked in 2010, and is down 5.7 per cent this year.

Ashe said it was a ‘‘no­brainer’’ to keep com­mu­nity con­sta­bles lo­cal when they did im­por­tant grass­roots work to keep youths on the straight and nar­row.

‘‘The av­er­age po­lice salary is about $ 80,000. It costs $97,000 to in­car­cer­ate some­one in our prisons for a year.’’

Hansen said re­lo­cat­ing Constable Tweedale some­where else in East­bourne was looked at.

‘‘There was a fis­cal com­po­nent to this but it was not the de­ter­min­ing fac­tor. It just made more sense, in line with our op­er­at­ing strat­egy, to op­er­ate out of Pe­tone.’’

The land mark Gibson Sheat Build­ing is get­ting a $6 mil­lion up­grade, which in­cludes a new five­storey car park­ing build­ing.

The com­mu­nity constable for East­bourne, Mo­era and Seav­iew, Dave Tweedale, is now based at Pe­tone Po­lice sta­tion.

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