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March 5, 2007 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Hostel Plans Enrage Locals

New accommodation (may be) coming soon

Plans to build a new 400-bed hostel over- looking Boyd Wilson Field have been met with strong opposition from locals.

Te Aro residents have voiced opposition to the construction, saying there has been too little consultation during the process.

One resident, Nikki Burrows, told Salient that her neighbours were completely unaware of the proposed construction until she raised the matter with them, despite University claims of extensive consultation.

Burrows also told Salient that 400 students on that site will change the peaceful nature of the location.

A flyer distributed by Vic’s Education Action Group says: “The development is being imposed on the local community in Aro Valley whose concerns about traffic, noise and light are being shunned as the University believes that it has no obligation to consult. It will also impact on Te Aro School, as the towers overlook the playground.”

“At the heart of students’ demands has always been for an open and accountable university.”

An information meeting was held last Thursday as an opportunity for the University and Te Aro residents to discuss the proposal and hear each others’ views.

The hostel will consist of three blocks – one four storeys high, one 10 and one 11. An artist’s impression of the hostel has been released, and was described by one viewer as a “salmon-pink monstrosity”.

The University anticipates that construction will begin on the hostel in a few months time, despite the plans not yet being approved by University Council.

University Deputy Vice-Chancellor David Mackay believes the new building will help

solve the accommodation crisis in Wellington. Mackay told Salient: “To some extent we are the victims of our own success in recruiting and the attractiveness of Wellington as a student city … At present it will not be until we have the new hall, projected for 2009, before we have more accommodation of our own to play with.”

VUWSA President Geoff Hayward says he appreciates the University’s attempts to solve the accommodation crisis but is “disappointed with the rather flippant attitude to consulta- tion with residents in the area.”

“Obviously the University is trying to get this resolved quickly but perhaps if the University had actually taken its time and started earlier working with residents they wouldn’t have such a backlash.”


About the Author ()

With her take-no-prisoners, kick-ass attitude, former News Editor Laura McQuillan adequately makes up for her lack of stature. Roaming the corridors (and underground tunnels) of the University by day, and hunting vampires and Nazi war criminals by night, McQuillan will stop at nothing to bring you the freshest news.

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