The Let’s Get Wellington Moving funding partners have outlined a plan to progress early wins to improve Wellington’s walking and cycling options, and enable faster, more reliable bus services within three years.
The renewed focus on projects which can get underway soonest, as well as improvements to management and governance structures, will ensure that the programme is set up to deliver the transport and urban development outcomes Wellington needs.
The Let’s Get Wellington Moving funding partners met yesterday with Minister of Transport Hon Michael Wood, to provide an update on the next steps for the programme in response to the findings of the independent health check they instigated to assess the programme’s progress.
“We had a positive meeting and are pleased to be able to agree on our priorities for improving the programme’s outcomes. Minister Wood has asked us to do further work to identify how we can speed up projects in the first three years to deliver benefits to Wellington sooner and we have asked the programme team to accelerate this work,” the Let’s Get Wellington Moving Partnership Board said.
We acknowledge there have been challenges with the programme and we are now looking forward to using the lessons learned to improve focus and delivery.
The next steps include changes to the governance and leadership structure of the programme, a new three-year programme, and longer-term work to ensure that the programme is affordable, and has the funding it needs, in light of funding challenges resulting from COVID-19, and likely increases in costs compared to the earlier Indicative Package.
“The health check review found that changes were needed to streamline decision-making and simplify the programme’s governance structure. We have agreed on changes that will reduce the number of governance layers, strengthen the programme’s leadership team, and improve collaboration between the partners and programme,” the Let’s Get Wellington Moving Partnership Board said.
The changes include appointing an independent chairperson to the Let’s Get Wellington Moving Partnership Board and simplifying the programme’s governance structure by integrating the Programme Steering Group into the leadership team and clarifying the roles and powers of the Board and Governance Reference Group. A Deputy Programme Director and an expert in helping teams to work collaboratively in joint ventures will become part of a strengthened programme leadership team.
A new short-term programme will be established made up of projects that can be under construction within three years.
“Each of the projects in the three-year programme aims to make it safer, easier and more reliable to get around the city by foot, bike and bus. We’ll appoint an additional Programme Director into our leadership team to specifically oversee this work.” the Board said.
The short-term programme includes the Golden Mile, Thorndon Quay & Hutt Road, the Cobham Drive crossing, and walking improvements in the central city. COVID-19 has created new funding challenges for the programme’s funding partners. Alongside these immediate changes, we are also working to address the longer-term affordability and funding of the programme. There is more work to do to develop long-term programme options, which will include public consultation later in the year.
Let’s Get Wellington Moving Partnership Board representatives each welcomed the next steps.
Let’s Get Wellington Moving Programme Sponsor and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency National Manager System Design, Robyn Elston says the next steps will help streamline the programme.
“I’m pleased that we will clarify and simplify the governance of the programme, and make it easier to reach good decisions together as partners. We need to be more agile and integrated so that our project teams can get on with delivering great outcomes for Wellington.”
Wellington City Council Chief Executive, Barbara McKerrow says the council is committed to delivering outcomes for the city, it’s communities and visitors.
“Let’s Get Wellington Moving has ambitious goals which will help to make Wellington a better place to live, work and visit. We’re excited about the once in a generation change it can make to our great city.”
Greater Wellington Regional Council Chief Executive, Greg Campbell says the renewed focus will give Wellingtonians more confidence in the programme.
“The scale of transformation has always been a little daunting until now. Making the programme more bite-size helps reduce that and build trust. People will be able to see what’s being tackled and when and how they can input to key deliverables. As a partner we look forward to seeing construction start on physical improvements, in particular bus priority, which will benefit all our Metlink passengers through faster and more reliable journeys”.
There is more work needed to produce a number of programme options, which will be shared with the community for feedback later in the year, alongside engagement on the Mass Rapid Transit and Strategic Highway Improvements (Basin Reserve and Mount Victoria Tunnel) projects.