The designation of land on Cape Wanbrow earmarked for a
controversial residential development has finally been
clarified by an Act of Parliament, but the Waitaki District
Council will ''start with a clean slate'' deciding what to do
Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton made that clear on Thursday when
he said ''the past was history'' and he wanted the council,
which owned the land and wanted to develop it, to consider
all options as soon as possible.
He had discussed with council chief executive Michael Ross
the possibility of including any proposals in the council's
2013-14 annual plan, which would be open for public
However, Mr Familton was not sure that would be possible at
this stage because the council was already well advanced with
its annual plan.
The 22-section subdivision, with sections costing more than
$300,000, was proposed in 2006 by the council on 5.842ha of
land looking north over Oamaru harbour, the town and
It hit difficulties when it found the land was designated
''reserve'' in 1937, which the council said was a mistake
because it had been set aside in 1885 as ''reserved'' for
endowment land for the benefit of the Oamaru borough.
As endowment land, the council would have been entitled to
develop the land and sell it, within certain restrictions
imposed on the use of proceeds. To clarify the situation, the
council approached Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean to sponsor a local
Bill to designate the land endowment reserve. That Bill
passed its final reading in Parliament this week, 98 votes to
Mr Familton was very pleased the land designation had finally
''It now gives us the opportunity to take the whole process
back to council and, if necessary, to [public]
The last decision the council made regarding Forrester
Heights was in July 2011, when it decided to spend no more
money on the development.
Mr Familton said that effectively put the project on hold.
The council started the project in 2006, with $3 million in
profits earmarked to help pay for the $10.2 million
refurbishment of the Opera House in Oamaru. But since its
inception it has been dogged by disputes, including that over
the status of the land.
Individuals and groups, including the Waitaki Ratepayers and
Concerned Citizens and the Friendly Bay Society, opposed
changing the designation and maintained it was intended to be
a reserve and could not be subdivided.