Greater Wellington opts to negotiate to buy land to manage Te Awa Kairangi/Hutt River flood risk
Greater Wellington Regional Council has resolved to negotiate with Manor Park Golf Club to buy land for flood protection purposes and lease it back to the club for the foreseeable future.
"A significant portion of the land currently occupied by Manor Park golf course presents a flooding and riverbank erosion risk and will be required for flood protection purposes in the future. It has flooded in the past and will again in the future.
"We have invested significant sums of money to protect the river's edge. Full ownership of the land will enable us both to better manage the river's flood risk and to progress environmental restoration opportunities in the Hutt Valley," says Cr Prue Lamason, chair of the Hutt Valley Flood Management Subcommittee.
"If we secure control of the land we will be able to manage Te Awa Kairangi/Hutt River in a more contemporary manner, allowing it to follow natural processes within a broader buffer zone contained by soft edges rather than expensive hard rock structures."
There will also be other opportunities for an extended river trail network, accommodation of necessary future water supply resilience work - such as pipeline placement - and to ensure that any future development on the land appropriately takes into account the flood risk.
Greater Wellington will negotiate the purchase of the land but not the golf club's assets, such as its clubhouse and sheds. The land would be leased back to the club for a set period.
"We want to primarily ensure we can control the land for flood protection purposes."
It is anticipated that in the short term Greater Wellington would work with Manor Park both on environmental enhancement and greater access to the land for recreation. Options for enhanced recreation would include development of a shared pathway extending the existing river trail up to Silverstream Bridge.
"We would also look forward to working with the club and the community to further develop the environmental enhancement work the club has started" says Cr Lamason.
In the long term, attention will turn to broader ecological enhancement that will support the creation of ecological corridors across the Hutt Valley.
"Let's be clear, the purchase of this land has nothing to do with any desire on the part of Greater Wellington to own a golf club.
"This is strategic land that we need to control in the interests of ensuring safety and the protection of regional ratepayers' interests in the Hutt Valley. It will also help achieve the community's objective that our rivers should return to a more normal form."
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