Wellington ratepayers are being asked to fork out millions of dollars to turn dreams for Shelly Bay into reality.
Property developer Ian Cassels and the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust have applied to Wellington City Council for resource consent to create hotels, apartments, townhouses, a rest home, ferry terminal and marina on the shore of the Miramar Peninsula, and a cable car link to Mt Crawford.
But it is understood Cassels has asked the council to share the costs of the necessary infrastructure, including roads, sewerage and water.
His argument is believed to centre around it being too big a burden for a developer to take on all the costs when the site would be used for public enjoyment.
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Benefits for the city would include fixing an eyesore, and creating a tourism attraction, parks and landscapes for the public, as well as increasing the council’s rating base.
The non-notified resource consent for the development is expected to be granted within the next two weeks.
The $500 million plan includes a 140-resident rest home, several seven-storey hotels, a boutique hotel with 50-odd rooms, 280 apartments, 58 townhouses and 14 standalone houses.
Most of the existing structures at the site are likely to be demolished, with only a few retained for refurbishment.
The beach to the south of the site area is set to be extended, and replenished with additional sand.
Cassels, who is director of The Wellington Company, said he was not in a position to comment until a decision was released next week.
It is understood city council staff are not enthusiastic about sharing the costs, and councillors will be briefed behind closed doors at a meeting on Tuesday, at which city shaper manager Ian Pike will present his report on how much the council would have to pay for such things as roads and sewerage.
The council does not typically pay for such amenities, which are usually provided by developers.
However, deals can be done by which developers pay contributions to councils to undertake such work. In such cases, there are usually criteria that set out how much will be contributed.
The Shelly Bay case is unusual because it is an isolated site with outdated infrastructure, including three kilometres of ageing wastewater pipe that needs replacing.
A paper on issues relating to the development of the site, and the sale of council land at Shelly Bay, is also scheduled to be considered at a full meeting of the council before the end of the April.
Eastern ward councillor Simon Marsh, who is likely to handle negotiations on the project as the city council’s economic development portfolia leader, said he had not seen all the information, but understood why Cassels would be putting the cost-sharing proposal on the table.
“We need to take a look at the bigger picture and see if we can facilitate the development of the area.”
At present, few rates were collected from that area, but new residents would create a rating base that would allow the council to improve infrastructure so the development could take place, Marsh said.
Council spokesman Richard MacLean said the council was not prepared to comment, given that issues relating to possible land sales and infrastructure would be the subject of negotiation with The Wellington Company and other interested parties.
WHAT’S NEEDED AT SHELLY BAY From a feasibility report prepared for the developers’ resource consent application:
Roads: A road adequate to service the scale of the proposed development would need to be 14 metres wide, plus 8m of footpaths and berms, making it 22m wide in total. Possible variations would be around footpath or cycle lane provision, and the extent of roadside parking.
Water: The current water supply infrastructure is in poor condition and grossly undersized, and considerable upgrading work is needed for the expected population. There should be a new reservoir, replacement of the pipeline between the Mt Crawford and Shelly Bay reservoirs, and other local pipes.
Wastewater: The existing pipework could not cope with increased flows, and there are issues with the size of the existing gravity feed to the pump station. Capital works should include a new pump station, a new rising main to the Salek St pump station in Kilbirnie, about 3.5 kilometres away, and local reticulation. The new rising main would have to be built alongside busy roads, including State Highway 1, and through or around large intersections.
Stormwater: Current requirements for disposal, the protection of the coastal environment, discharge specifics and pollutant treatments are beyond the existing infrastructure. Upgrades and/or additions will be needed, along with a new internal stormwater network for the development.