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

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Carnival consent

Cuba St Carnival - based on a photo by ellipse at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ellipse/5735837/in/set-143824/The Cuba Street Carnival has just been granted an open-ended consent to operate as an annual event. It may remain as a biennial event, though, since the organisers prefer to avoid competing with the Arts Festival.

The consent means that the carnival is recognised as a vital part of Wellington's events calendar, and as such it gets special dispensations for noise, though still under fairly strict conditions. It will still have to apply for consents each time for any road closures, though if the "bypass" has the benefits that its proponents claim, it should be easier to close Ghuznee St in the future. Though the bypass seems to be making rapid progress (they've just finished shoving around the old buildings), according to the project plan Ghuznee St won't be "returned to inner-city use" until the middle of next year, which will be too late for the 2007 Carnival.

As always, although the submissions (260kB PDF) were overwhelmingly in favour of the consent, not everyone is happy. The trust in charge of the St James Theatre and Opera House was worried about noise and disruption, though I'd like to think they could get into the carnival spirit and work with the organisers to arrange special events that complement the Carnival rather than clashing with it. To the members of the Robert Hannah Body Corporate I'd say: if you can't handle being kept awake until 1am once every two years, then perhaps you'd be better off living somewhere like this. And there was a very sniffy article in Salient last year wondering why the carnival has an "inappropriate" Latin American flavour ("Fidel's Café and the Havana brand are ... the Burger King-style theme restaurants of upper Cuba Street") when our Latin community is so small. Perhaps it's just that they can teach us repressed anglos something about how to party.

(Thanks to ellipse for the photo.)


At 1:59 pm, August 03, 2006, Blogger Hadyn said...

Welcome Home Cuba Carnivale! O, how we've missed you!

Now if only some upstanding citizen would reopen the tattoo museum as a Tiki Bar my 2006/07 Summer would be complete!

At 4:07 pm, August 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

no worries!! Latin American community is growing fast.
and if Welly offers more events like this one, more will come... we always go where the party is!
viva la fiesta! =)

At 4:43 pm, August 03, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Good to hear it! It's a pity that Cordoba had to close: the first time I went there was just after the end of the Carnival parade last year, and it was full of dancers showing off their stuff (their moves, that is). Roxy Cafe is not bad, but I've never seen anyone tango there, and they don't serve jugs of sangria.

At 5:13 pm, August 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always thought it had a Latin theme simply because its held in Cuba Street, (and I'm pretty sure Cuba is somewhere in Latin America).

At 5:21 pm, August 03, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Yes, though the "Cuba" in Cuba St comes from one of the settlers' ships, so the article is right in that it's a fairly tenuous link. He's not so much pissed off at the carnival as at the use of Cuba-related imagery (Havana, Fidels) throughout the Cuba quarter. How dare you commodify the image of true revolutionaries, you evil capitalist cafe-owners?!

At 6:27 pm, August 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Parkwood Retirement Home? harsh, Tom,... harsh...


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