March 5, 2009
Northern Suburbs Deserve More Attention
In the empty spaces of Stebbings Valley the ongoing growth of Wellington City is plain to see. One of Wellington's fastest growing suburbs - Churton Park - already has 4,000 residents. The local school roll has grown to such an extent that a new school will soon have to be built. However, in many ways it is the neglected suburb of Wellington. There are not yet any facilities which most suburbs take for granted. No community hall. No youth facilities. No local supermarket or coffee shop. No Sports Centre for it. No Community Board. The one road out of the suburb - Middleton Road - regularly comes to a peak-hour stand still on weekdays. A long-planned link road to the motorway has been stalled through a combination of RMA consent delays and Council funding squabbles. The City Council has a clear focus on areas south of Johnsonville - the so-called 'growth spine". Problem is the growth spine isn't growing. Trying to starve development in the north through lack of attention and investment is not a smart idea. If local residents in the northern suburbs feel neglected by their Council that may be because they have been. Let's hope 2009 is a year in which the Council rediscovers its long forgotten northern suburbs.