Crossways AGM is this Thursday

The first full year of the New Crossways Community Trust has passed in a blur and it’s time for the AGM. This year it will be on Thursday 1 April at 7:30pm, and Chair Bill Southworth will present details on the Trust’s activity over the last twelve months and its plans for the future. All are welcome.

When: 7:30pm, Thursday 1 April 2010
Where: New Crossways, 6 Roxburgh Street, Mt Victoria

Trevor says goodbye

Local business owner and eponymous timber merchant Trevor Fox will be bowing out of his Home Street premises at the end of this month, heading to a well-earned retirement in Tauranga.

Trevor has been in the timber business since 1968 and has run Mouldings & Finishings since 1987, supplying all the twiddly bits that are necessary for a Victorian-era house to look its best – and the Home Street store/warehouse is a treasure trove of beautifully turned finials, paneled doors, skirting board, ceiling mouldings and much much more. Thankfully for inner-city renovators the business will be continuing, with Trevor’s long-time co-worker Cliff manning the operation from the beginning of April.

Trevor has been a long-time supporter of the Mt Victoria newsletter, with his ad being a fixture for many many years. We’d like to thank him for all his support of our community, and wish him and his family a happy retirement in Tauranga.

Easter eggs!

The Wellington City Council has arranged an Easter Wellington Walkways event to give families the chance to explore the tracks and byways of Wellington whilst getting fit and enjoying the sunshine. It will be an excellent day for young and old alike, with picnicking in the park, an easter egg hunt and a sausage sizzle being run for the Crossways Community Centre.

Date: Sunday 4th April
Time: 10am – 2pm
Venue: Charles Plimmer Park (Good Weather) or the Crossways Community Centre (Bad Weather)

Image credit: oberazzi via Flickr, creative commons licensed

Activities include PushPlay for Easter, decorating Easter eggs and craft activities, meet the Park Ranger (including an introductory walk into the park) and an Easter Bunny Easter Egg hunt.

Families can bring a picnic to the park, or there will be a sausage sizzle by the Crossways Community centre.

The aim of the event is to bring people from the community together to enjoy the parks and gardens, and to encourage people to find out more about the Wellington walkways in their local area. Walkways will be highlighted through the free iPhone application, the Feeling Great website and brochures.

So come along for an excellent family fun day!

Local Heroes: The Ambeli Restaurant

This is the first in an occasional series highlighting local businesses and individuals that are helping build the Mt Victoria community. Know a local hero that should be celebrated? E-mail the Editor.

Nestled within an old cottage in Majoribanks Street that has been home to great restaurants in Mt Victoria for many decades, The Ambeli Restaurant exudes sophistication and class. Ably run by maitre d’ Shae Moleta (above) and head chef Sam Pope, The Ambeli combines traditional French-influenced dishes with clever and innovative Mediterranean touches, producing food that is at once classical and inspired, sourced largely from local ingredients.

On a recent visit with family we relaxed into the ambience of this fine local institution and proceeded to work our way through the menu. The rapidly-becoming-iconic potato, caper and anchovy pancakes (sounds strange, tastes divine) was an excellent choice; the quail was a delight. Mains included an Angus fillet steak cooked to perfection with a jus to die for, and a fragrant and tender duck complemented with pearl barley. We matched the mains with a bottle of Ata Rangi Celebre, although Shae has selected some delightful European wines to complement the perfectly-formed menu. His choices of obscure and sometimes unusual varieties is truly inspired, and he’s both generous with advice and enthusiastic about some of the lesser-known Old World offerings.

And that just left dessert. If you can bypass the excellent cheeseboard, the Valrhona Chocolate Velvet with Brandied Muscatels is one of life’s truly decadent pleasures. We teamed it with a glass or two of Shae’s recommended dessert wine, and left the restaurant utterly replete.

The visiting Christchurch family members asked if we normally ate this well in Mt Victoria – to which we could only reply – “naturally!”

But there’s more to The Ambeli than just excellent food and a well-matched wine list. Shae and Sam have also been huge supporters of the community, providing lucky raffle and prize winners with stunning meals as part of the campaign to save Crossways and as supporters of the Mt Victoria Festival. More than one prize winner has commented at how a simple restaurant voucher has turned into a wonderful evening, luxuriating in Sam’s fabulous food and Shea’s generous hospitality.

Having a restaurant of the quality of The Ambeli at the end of the street is a luxury that very few neighbourhoods can boast. So do yourself (and your Significant Other) a favour, and book a table at The Ambeli today.

MVRA stalwart dies

It’s with much sadness that we note the passing of Richard Giese, a long-time Mt Victoria resident and member of the Mt Victoria Residents Association.

Richard was the lead flautist with the NZSO and a life member of the Residents’ Association. His involvement in the MVRA goes back many years, and he was a stalwart of community meetings, in a quiet, gentlemanly and gentle way.

There was a memorial gathering for him at the Friends Society on Moncrieff Street today, where his life was celebrated in the neighbourhood he loved. He will be sadly missed, and our thoughts are with his friends and family.

Hands off Radio NZ – public meeting this Tuesday

This Tuesday local MPs Grant Robertson (Labour) and Sue Kedgley (Green) are jointly hosting a public meeting to oppose the budget cuts at Radio NZ. The details are:

Where: St Johns Church Hall, Willis Street
When: 7:30pm, Tuesday 16 March
Speakers: Grant Robertson, Sue Kedgley, Gaylene Preston, John Johansson

The reason the proposed budget cuts are a local issue is because so many Mt Victorians have an involvement in Radio NZ, particularly on National Radio. Many of the journalists who live in our neighbourhood have worked for Radio NZ; our politicians have been quoted and interviewed on Morning Report; local personalities have provided commentary, been the subject of interviews and have provided the raw material for documentaries. Some of the Mt Victorians that have contributed to New Zealand’s voice on Radio NZ are famous, and some much less so; an even greater number have simply listened. To the majority of these people, the death by a thousand budget cuts proposed by the current government is simply unacceptable.

If there is $100 million for “Party Central” for the Rugby World Cup on the Auckland waterfront, then there is money for Radio NZ. So come to the meeting on Tuesday and show your support.

End of the road for the Ellice Street shops?

The shops at the end of Ellice Street on the Basin Reserve intersection look as though they may be heading for imminent demolition, due to an order from the Wellington City Council to bring them up to earthquake standards.

The shops – unoccupied for a number of years – were sold to the NZ Transport Agency, who now have the legal requirement to either ensure that they meet the Wellington City Council’s long-standing earthquake standards, or to apply for a resource consent to demolish them. The reason the shops and the flats above are vacant is that it’s illegal to tenant them when they are a known earthquake hazard.

For a while, it looked as though the Transport Agency were conducting “demolition by neglect”, which inspired the Mt Victoria Residents Association to write to the then-Minister Annette King and seek assurances that the Agency would follow the proper procedures. This resulted in the shops being secured against the elements and the occasional squatter.

However the Council’s notice gives the Transport Agency until the end of April to come up with a solution. In both cases, a consent will be needed to either strengthen or demolish, so local residents may have some further input into what happens. And as most Wellingtonians know, there are major plans for the Basin Reserve underway which may impact on the lower Ellice Street area, but as the NZ Transport Agency has been completely silent on the designs for their flyover (despite some media leaks) it’s not clear whether the shops are in the firing line from their inappropriate roading plans or not.

We’ll keep you posted.

The Wellington City Council’s earthquake strengthening notice has been taped to the front of the vacant Ellice Street shops.