Upgrade a lift for Hutt City
Eastbourne’s police ‘station’ to go on sale
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.