Time for a few quick updates.
First of all, as you'll have heard by now, the Marine Education Centre has been granted resource consent. Opponents will continue fighting it (perhaps to save their favourite dogging spot?), but after a painful and long-drawn-out process (my first post about it was nearly a year ago, and the hearing that has just finished has taken over four months) it'll be good to see some concrete plans get underway.
Speaking of delays, the public consultation period for the Wellington Regional Strategy, which was due to close on Monday, has been extended for another two weeks. I'm embarassed to admit that I haven't spent enough time studying the documents to write a post about what could be one of the most important influences on Wellington's future, but I blame that on the media coverage which has seemed to focus on how to fund it and the divisions between the region's mayors (mostly from rural and suburban councils) rather than the content of the strategy itself.
On the other hand, I tend to agree with some complaints that there's not enough detail in the strategy to see how it's going to make any difference. My main interest is in the "investment in good regional form" section, and while there's plenty of nice language here about "encourag[ing] medium and higher density housing close to the Wellington CBD, sub-regional centres and transport links", the commitment to public transport seems half-hearted at best. They're still talking about merely "maintaining the current good balance between private and public transport, walking and cycling" rather than improving it, so if current trends towards increased demand for public transport continue, this will very quickly seem like a timid and short-sighted strategy.
On page 5 of today's Wellingtonian, there's an article about the renovation of the former Mayfair building in Ghuznee St. In contrast to one suggestion that the current owner would prefer to demolish it, the article describes Glen Hooker (former co-owner of Paris in Lambton Quay) as taking seven months to build the new dome according to the original architect's plans while painstakingly stripping paint off the ornate exterior and polishing the pressed tin walls inside - thus explaining the slow progress.
Mr Hooker (an appropriate name, given the building's former use!) gives no clues as to the future use for the building, so there's no confirmation as to whether this will be the next Il Casino. On the other hand, he hints that some sort of café or restaurant is definitely on the way: "With the land at the back of [Glover] Park, the proposal there is to build a temporary glass box, which is in complete contrast to the existing building. That would make it work as an eatery, or something like that." That's good news for Glover Park, though I'm not so keen on his idea of a giant billboard of Havana at night with the slogan "Absolutely Cuba".