Businesses and industry groups have formed a coalition following concerns about the progress of the capital’s $6.4 billion transport project, Let’s Get Wellington Moving (LGWM).

The group called Progress Wellington launched today. It says LGWM is no longer focused on getting Wellington’s transport network moving forward.

Wellington Chamber of Commerce chief executive Simon Arcus said the city needed a system where people can move easily and safely at all times of the day.

“We need to speed up the major infrastructure projects, those that will achieve the aims of getting Wellingtonians moving, rather than on the projects that are slowing things down – we can’t grind our city to a halt.”

Members of Progress Wellington include Retail NZ, Hospitality NZ, Restaurant Association, Property Council, Road Transport Forum, SOS Courtenay Place, Wellington Airport and Porirua Chamber of Commerce.

A review of LGWM late last year found the plan was at risk of failing to deliver a cohesive package, had a detrimental culture, and was inadequately resourced.

In response, one of the things Transport Minister Michael Wood was particularly keen to act on was a clear plan for implementing “low hanging fruit”- projects around walking, cycling, and public transport.

These quick wins include projects like removing private vehicles from the Golden Mile, changes to Thorndon Quay, and a pedestrian crossing on Cobham Drive.

A new position was created on the LGWM team, a three-year programme director, to oversee this work.

In June Mayor Andy Foster was confident enough to make the call that LGWM was finally moving and people could expect an “avalanche” of projects in the coming months.

But it’s this avalanche of projects which has caused concern among members of the Progress Wellington group.

RetailNZ chief executive Greg Harford said the project’s quick wins programme showed little understanding of how the changes will impact on the city, its people, and the business community.

“In a Covid-impacted operating environment, we need to be laser focused on the real drivers that will get Wellingtonians back into using the CBD – making it harder to use and connect with the city won’t bring our heart and vibrancy back.”

Wellington Airport chief executive Steve Sanderson said an overpass should be built at Cobham Drive.

“If LGWM goes ahead with their plans to reduce the speed limits on Cobham Drive and add a set of traffic lights, more than 35,000 Wellingtonians will be impacted, while the best and safest solution for pedestrians and cyclists will be ignored.”

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