Council told to decide what public works land not required

BY RACHAEL FERGUSSON
Last updated 10:21 04/06/2010

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Kapiti Observer

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Ngahina Trust has welcomed a High Court decision ruling the Kapiti Coast District Council must decide what area of Paraparaumu town centre land is no longer required for public works purposes.

"This will see those parts of almost 16 hectares of former Trust lands sold by the Trust to Kapiti Borough Council in the 1980s, which are not required for public works offered back to the Trust under section 40 of the Public Works Act 1981,'' said Ngahina Trust chair Kura Taylor on Thursday.

In a High Court hearing last month, Ngahina Trust sought to have council offer back two pieces of land acquired in 1981 and 1987 under the Public Works Act. Council had set aside the land for a new town centre, part of which is tagged for the new aquatic centre.

The Trust said the land was no longer required for public works purposes and the council was required to sell it back.

However, the council said the 1987 land was not acquired for public work, and it was not required to offer the land back.

Releasing his reserved judgment on Monday, Justice Alan MacKenzie ruled that while the land was acquired by the council for public works purposes, it was no longer all required for that purpose.

He said the council was now under an obligation to determine the extent and location of the land that was no longer required.

"I consider that the appropriate remedy here is a declaration to that effect."

Justice MacKenzie said the declaration would require a decision by council, which would require proper consideration of a number of issues.

Council's decision could be subject to a judicial review.

The extent of consideration required by council was not known, and it was not possible to put a strict time frame on the process, Justice MacKenzie said.

"The declaration which I propose will also leave open a number of matters which must be determined after the decision has been made by the council."

Justice MacKenzie said not every civic purpose would fall within the definition of "public work", for example it was not clear whether the proposed aquatic centre would fall within that definition.

Justice MacKenzie ruled there would be a declaration that the council was required to determine what part of the 1981 land and 1987 land was not required for public works purposes.

Costs were reserved.

Miss Taylor said the Trust would enter into negotiations with the council immediatley and she was "sure that both parties would act in the utmost good faith to quickly resolve all outstanding issues between them.

The Trust "has no hard feelings towards council as the situation the court had to resolve was very complex and confusing''.

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KCDC chief executive Pat Dougherty said the judgement was "complex" and council was seeking advice on the decision from its solicitors.

"We will then brief council on the matter. Until then, we will not be commenting further on the judgment."

- Kapiti Observer

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