Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The festival and the park

The Arts Festival kicked off first thing this morning, and last night Waitangi Park was opened to the public just in time to host many of the events.

Waitangi Park - open at last!On the other hand, "open" isn't quite the same as "finished". In addition to the areas that were previously announced not to be complete in time for the festival, there are a few finishing touches still to be done throughout the park. The contractors were still busy planting away last night, and the "subsurface wetland" at the southeast corner presumably is still awaiting some major planting. The kiosk is unfinished, so there are no public toilets yet. Parts of the lawn were still very patchy, but that will just take a few more weeks of natural growth. The streetball net and adjacent graffiti walls are still to be installed, but the blank concrete walls on the side of the skate park have now suddenly sprouted bright hand- and foot-holds, transforming them into climbing walls.

Skatepark open for businessSpeaking of the skate park, despite the bowl being not quite ready, this was by far the most popular part of the park. It's also much larger and more impressive than was visible from the road, with a lot of ramps and tree planters doubling as skate equipment. The inner promenades were full of people checking out the Earth from Above photos. And after months of construction, you can finally walk all the way around the seaward side of Te Papa and the Herd St building! That leaves pretty much only one area that was mostly deserted on a fine but cold evening: the large green lawn. At least that should get plenty of use tomorrow, weather permitting.


At 10:22 am, February 24, 2006, Blogger Kate Borrell said...

Goddamn that park is taking forever!

I guess good things take time.

At 12:00 pm, February 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Tom, we'll be using that big green area as soon as we can find our soccer ball...

I reckon WWL have done a good job with this park, it's different and imaginative, but also, let's thank Waterfront Watch for stopping the major buildings planned for this area some years back...?!?

At 4:45 pm, February 24, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

There are still buildings on the way, and I'll wager that the areas in and around the ground floor of those buildings will be better used by the public than the middle of the green park. Yesterday, all the people were gathered around the outside and hardly anyone ventured into the middle, despite it being relatively dry.

Besides, Variation 17 also had a large green area in this area: not much smaller than the current result.

At 7:52 pm, February 26, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, I'll take your wager, but only if the guys from sportzone.org.nz are allowed to run summer soccer & touch rugby leagues on the park and in the winter those big floodlights are turned on to allow 1 or 2 clubs to train down there...A bit of a run around, and then into one of the new bars, fantastic!


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