Council plans for the future - significant land purchase
Council has purchased a highly strategic 35.57 hectares of farmland beside the Waikanae River for future use as sports fields and passive open space. The area is known as the “Howarth Block”.
Mayor Jenny Rowan hailed the move as significant.
“This is Council making a highly strategic move to secure open space for future generations of Coasters. I congratulate and applaud my councillors for planning ahead, looking to the future and making this significant decision.”
The 35.57 hectares lies to the west of the Turf Farm and extends from Lancelot Grove to the Waikanae River. The purchase price is $2.77 million.
Council’s Corporate Business Committee chair Ross Church said it was the first major land purchase by Council using funds from the Strategic land purchase account. The account was introduced by Council through the 2010/11 Annual plan process.
“Council has been aware for sometime that it has a shortage of suitable recreation land for playing fields and training grounds. There is also a shortage of local purpose reserves for community organisations to build club rooms or to use for storage.
“This block of land is ideal as it borders the Waikanae River offering across-river access to the built-up area of Waikanae. There is also road access at the western end. By buying this block we can ensure the retention of a green belt between Paraparaumu and Waikanae.
“It also offers opportunities for improved linkages to the Waikanae River walkways.”
Mayor Rowan said staff had investigated a number of options to address the pressure on existing sports grounds. These included re-establishing and leasing the old sports fields on Queen Elizabeth Park; leasing land under the high voltage wires and pylons near Jim Cooke Park, purchasing land in the Waikanae North subdivision, and vacant land on the western side of Mazengarb Park.
“The Howarth Block was clearly the best option available.”
There are several dwellings on the land, a barn and stables. Mayor Rowan said the future use of the buildings had still to be determined but could be made available to local community groups.
“The next step is to change the designation of the land to recreation under the Reserves Act 1977 so a Reserves Management Plan can be prepared for community consultation and ultimately, adoption by Council.
“The Plan will identify the long term uses of the site. This work will also consider the possibility of improving access on to the site from Waikanae by providing more car parking on the north side of the river and additional footbridges across the river.”