No more spending on subdivision

No more money will be spent on developing the Forrester Heights subdivision until the Waitaki District Council has clear title to the site on Cape Wanbrow.

However, that excludes a $4500 consultant's bill for work already done and spending up to $12,000 on a private member's Bill to Parliament seeking to get freehold title over the land for the controversial subdivision.

Yesterday, the council decided to go ahead with the Bill through Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean to rectify what it said was an error in 1937, when designation over the land was changed to make it a reserve.

At the same time, Cr Kevin Malcolm successfully moved the council honour the $4500 consultant's bill but incur no further expenditure on developing Forrester Heights until such time as it had obtained freehold title.

The 27-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 coastline.

It has caused ongoing controversy, particularly over the status of the land.

Chief executive, Michael Ross, said the private member's Bill was for the council to get title over the land, not about whether the subdivision would proceed.

But Cr Helen Stead continued to oppose the subdivision, maintaining the land was always intended to be a reserve. She totally opposed any further action to change the status of the land. She did not believe a mistake had been made in 1937 and there was "no way" the council should progress with the Bill.

Cr Jim Hopkins said there would be other debates on Forrester Heights, including whether it should be developed and by whom.

Other councillors were worried about the hidden costs of a Bill.

They were told a $2000 deposit was needed by Parliament before a Bill would be accepted.

However, there were other costs associated with preparing the Bill, which Mr Ross estimated were likely to be less than $10,000 because of legal work already done.

Originally, the land was set aside in 1885 as reserved for endowment to aid the Oamaru borough, which meant it could be developed or sold, but was changed in 1937 to a reserve.


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