Land issue unresolved

After a heated debate earlier this week, the Vincent Community Board resolved to leave on the table the issue of whether to bank a piece of land or let part of it be subdivided, for the incoming board to decide.

The piece of land in question is part of Molyneux Park and has been set aside for future reserve development but there was an issue of where to place its boundary.

Central Otago District Council parks and recreation manager Mat Begg put three options to the board.

The first was to set aside all the land for future recreation. It is large enough to fit four full-sized sports fields.

That would, however, limit future opportunity for subdivision and development of that land as well as land to the northwest, which could be an extension of Molyneux Estate, because of where a road would need to be placed.

This option was floated in the draft of the management plan that went out for public consultation and ''many commented on the need to retain this area for future generations'', Mr Begg said.

The second option, and the one recommended by Mr Begg, was to move the boundary back 21m, allowing for both future recreation activities and limited subdivision, while maintaining room for four fields.

The final option was to halve the land, keeping half available for recreation, though it would only be big enough for two fields, and making the rest available for any subdivision. Come decision time, the board was split, with four members favouring option two and the others opposing that option.

Board member Trevor Breen, who favoured option two, said it was not often elected members were asked to consider future generations and ''the benefit of having that recreation area there far outweighs the potential for development''.

Board member Martin McPherson, who was against option two, said the land was the only freehold piece of land in the ward and though other board members said they thought land for development could be found if and when necessary, other land in the ward was classified as reserve and it was a long, hard process to change that.

''It's about the last piece of dirt we've got that can be developed for housing.''

Board member Graeme Bell was also against option two. He said freeing up the land for subdivision could ''help soften rates for people in the future.

''We have to be mindful that the community is only a certain size and there's only a certain amount of cash assets that it can liquidate ... we don't have the luxury of real estate.''

There was, however, land that could be used for recreation, including the site of the old gun club and The Pines, he said.

Board chairwoman Clair Higginson opted for option two initially but chose not to use her casting vote to break the tie.

As the board was split, she said, she thought the fairest thing to do was to leave it on the table for the incoming board to decide when more information was available, such as the extent the neighbouring land would be devalued for the developer due to the four sports fields if the board went with option two.

- sarah.marquet@odt.co.nz

 

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