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March 26, 2007 | by  | in News |
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Vic to establish hostel-community liason groups

Vic may respond to concerns by Aro residents on their proposed hostel construction by establishing “neighbourhood liason groups” around all of its halls located in residential areas. A 400-bed hostel, to be built on Fairlie Terrace overlooking Boyd Wilson Field, has been the subject of community uproar in recent weeks.

Issues raised by local residents included concerns that the large numbers of occupants would destroy the residential ambience of the area, as well as traffic and parking issues, design issues and construction impacts.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Neil Quigley says that while the University is not required by the City Council or the District Plan to notify its resource consent application, it will continue to liase with locals for their concerns and feedback.

In a press statement, the University says liason groups will be “a more effective way to address the concerns raised than was possible through the Resource Management Act process”, and that “it could be unfair to all parties to raise community expectations about participation in the consent process”.

VUWSA executive members have expressed concerns to Salient that drawing more students to Wellington to live in hostel accommodation will further fuel the current accommodation crisis in Wellington, with students moving out of hostels increasing demand for flats, therefore enabling landlords to further increase already-inflated prices.

Quigley told Salient that the proposed hostel will provide accommodation not only for first-years, but also for undergraduate students beyond their first year of study and also post-graduate students, and may therefore help to calm the accommodation crisis.

Quigley says, “while it is true that we expect to bring some new students to Wellington with this new accommodation, we also expect to be able to change our policies to allow more students who are in Wellington anyway to live in a University residence after the first year.”

“So the net impact on the private accommodation market is not clear – certainly not clear enough to give any credibility to a claim that we will provoke a crisis in the private market.”

The University continues to revise its resource consent application, including height reductions to two of the three hostel towers, with one to be reduced from 13 to 11 storeys.

The proposal will be on the agenda at a public University Council meeting today at 1pm in the Council Chamber, Hunter Building Level 2.

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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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