Johnsonville, New Zealand

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Johnsonville
Basic information
Local authority Wellington City
Electoral ward Wellington City#Northern Ward
Population 10,290 (2013 census total, comprising Johnsonville North- 1821, Johnsonville East - 983, Johnsonville Central - 3,780 and Raroa - 3,726, all of which are generally accepted as comprising "Johnsonville") (2013)
Postcode(s) 6037
Facilities
Railway station(s) Johnsonville Railway Station
Surrounds
North Churton Park
Northeast Paparangi
East Johnsonville–Porirua Motorway, Newlands
South Ngauranga Gorge
Southwest Broadmeadows, Khandallah
West Mount Kaukau
Northwest Ohariu Valley

Johnsonville is a large suburb in northern Wellington, New Zealand. It is seven kilometres north of the city centre, at the top of the Ngauranga Gorge, on the main route to Porirua (State Highway 1). The population of "J'ville" (as it is commonly known) was 10,290 at the 2013 census.[1]

Public transport[edit]

Johnsonville is a reasonably large residential and commercial suburb. Johnsonville Station is the northern terminus of the Johnsonville branch line of the Tranz Metro electric passenger service to central Wellington, with an adjacent bus stop for several routes known as the Johnsonville Hub. Johnsonville supports a large commuter population. Housing is spread around the shopping hub in the centre and extends out to the base of Mt Kaukau to the west, and out across the hill towards the suburb of Newlands to the south-east.

Regional planning[edit]

As a part of the Northern Growth Management Plan from Wellington City Council, there exists a proposal to redevelop Johnsonville's main precinct into the "Johnsonville Town Centre." This plan recognises Johnsonville as Wellington's most economically important commercial and population hub outside the city centre. The plan recommends the creation of a unique and identifiable Johnsonville culture around the triangular precinct - bounded by Johnsonville Road to the east, Broderick Road to the south and Moorefield Road to the west, but despite 6 years of promises for an open spaces plan for the town centre, none has eventuated. Unusually, Wellington City Council introduced planning rule which created effective "size limits" on commercial developments outside the CBD in 2008, specifically to protect existing city centre businesses from any possible competition from businesses located in Johnsonville. As a result, a proposed for a new theatre complex was immediately scrapped, and some commercial activity has effectively been transferred to the closer cities of Lower Hutt and Porirua. Johnsonville-based commercial developments of any significant magnitude (such as DNZs proposed redevelopment of the Johnsonville Mall) have been inhibited by this protectionist regulation, and the commercial centre continues to stagnating as a result of this "planning blight".

History[edit]

Johnson's clearing[edit]

Johnsonville was originally the site of a Maori track from Wellington to Porirua, and had no native inhabitants before European settlement. Vegetation was dense native forest, dominated by totara, mixed podocarp trees (notably totara and Rimu), Rata and hinau. Johnsonville was settled in 1841 by, among others, Frank Johnson who had purchased a certificate of selection and had drawn the 100 acre 'Section 11 Kinapora (Kenepuru) District'. Initially called 'Johnson's clearing', Frank Johnson built a house by the Johnsonville stream and a timber mill near the center of modern Johnsonville. He quickly denuded the entire Johnsonville area of virgin native forest, with timber sold to help build the nearby town of Wellington. He soon sold his land at a substantial profit, and returned to England by 1858 leaving the environment massively changed, and on which site a farming industry to support nearby Wellington City grew. Over the 20th century, farmland slowly gave way to Suburbia, with the first tiny township of Johnsonville steadily growing to become populated principally by a "mid-level" socio-economic strata.

20th century[edit]

Johnsonville became an independent town district in 1908. The town grew rapidly from 1938, when the town was linked to Wellington via a new electric train service and state housing was expanded in the town. Johnsonville gave up its independence in 1954, and has struggled to receive appropriate infrastructural development from the larger wellington City ever since.

Infrastructure[edit]

Johnsonville has a modestly large commercial infrastructure and is self-sufficient in many ways; it has a shopping mall, two supermarkets (although without competition, as both are of the same "chain), a small and rather dated library.

Keith Spry Pool[edit]

Keith Spry pool is an indoor 25 meter heated pool with a diving pool, toddler pool, spa, sauna . The pool is run by Wellington City Council. On June 2013, work started on a $6 million revamp of the facilities which will expand the complex by 50 percent, add a new learn to swim pool, replace the roof and expand the changing rooms.[2]

Alex Moore Park[edit]

Alex Moore park is a sporting ground located on Broderick Road / Moorefield Road. The grounds host football, rugby, cricket, softball and athletics. The facilities include an artificial cricket surface, changing rooms and club house. The Alex Moore Park Development Project is planning a $6 million sports centre on the site that will replace disparate and outdated sports clubrooms with a centralised gym, meeting rooms and function area.[3]

Johnsonville Community Centre[edit]

The Johnsonville Community Centre is located on the corner of Frankmoore Avenue and Moorefield Road and provides community services including education, Citizens Advice Bureau, support groups and youth groups. The building is owned by the Wellington City Council and was opened in 1995 after significant investment and fund raising by local community groups.

Community and social groups[edit]

Johnsonville has a number of community groups including:

  • The Johnsonville club
  • Johnsonville community centre
  • Johnsonville Lions club
  • Johnsonville Community Association (Inc.). [1]

Education[edit]

Johnsonville is home to Onslow College, a relatively large high decile co-educational high school, Raroa Normal Intermediate and several primary schools, including Johnsonville School, St Brigids School and West Park School. While all are considered very good to excellent in their educational; outcomes, it is generally accepted that all Johnsonville the schools are over-capacity and ill- equipped for imminent population increases in Johnsonville. No plans for more schools are in the pipeline.

Current Issues[edit]

In 2010, new planning regulations were introduced to facilitate residential intensification of central Johnsonville, despite this area already being the most intensely populated of its type in the region. These measures were seen as important for wider Wellington growth by planners, but were opposed strongly by residents determined to retain their suburban "quality of life". Issues resounded strongly with residents, and contributed significantly to the overthrow of Mayor Prendergast in 2010, although a new Mayor caused no change in policies. An environment court challenge by a residents association resulted in a 2013 ruling which moderated the size and some qualitative aspects of proposed intensification, but 1200 new dwellings are expected to follow, and residents are concerned that commercial, social and environmental infrastructure is already well below par for an area servicing such a large and fast growing region. Residents anticipate infrastructure to be overwhelmed by "dumping" of highly intense low cost housing developments.

Nearby suburbs[edit]

The residents of nearby suburbs such as Churton Park, Grenada Village, Newlands, Khandallah, Ngaio and Broadmeadows also use its facilities especially for shopping at the Johnsonville Shopping Centre. While many of these centres have new supermarkets, the range of shops available in Johnsonville is a major attraction to the wider district.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wellington.xls
  2. ^ Rangi, Stephanie (20 June 2013) "Work on J'ville pool under way" Stuff.co.nz
  3. ^ Jancic, Boris (2 April 2013) "$6m Johnsonville sports centre planned" The Wellingtonian

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°13′25″S 174°48′26″E / 41.22354°S 174.80724°E / -41.22354; 174.80724