Apparently Wellingtonians have been saved from an awful fate as the National Aquarium plans have been sunk, thanks to the Environment Court. Disappointing. I hope that the guy who trotted out the dead seahorses as evidence of cultural significance is satisfied – they seem to have done their job.
I don’t understand how a project of this scale is able to be sunk given that:
The proposal had been backed by the Conservation Department, two prominent local iwi bodies, and two marine education specialists.
I’d like to think it wasn’t small mindedness, or some petty attempt to NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) the project and that, ‘It’d be ok as long as it was on some other section of coast…’
I’ve kept aquaria for many years, including marine aquaria. I’ve been to public aquaria in places like London, Townsville, Melbourne, and Sydney, and of course, Kelly Tarlton’s in Auckland and Marineland in Napier. They seem to be able to provide a happy balance education, entertainment, and employment; and there’s sure room for more of all of that here in Wellington. Also, given that the essential nature of caring for the inhabitants of an aquarium is entirely about ecosystems, balance, and responsible management; the subsequent environmental impact from the actual running of an aquarium would be given continual consideration.
Ok, so the council liked it, DOC liked it, two iwi liked it, educationalists liked it, a chunk of Wellingtonians liked it, and damn it, even the environment commissioners were not totally opposed to all aspects of it. And yet it sinks. I can only assume the voices who complained so bitterly have their reasons. Could it be…?