Plan would limit sports facilities in town belt

AMY JACKMAN
Last updated 06:31 24/09/2012

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Development of new sports facilities in Wellington's town belt will be limited under a wide-ranging plan to protect the city's green spaces.

The Draft Town Belt Management Plan, tabled at a Wellington City Council strategy and policy meeting last week, explains the intended methods for the protection, management and development of the 389.68-hectare town belt for the next 10 years.

It proposes to protect a further 85.03ha of reserve land, which is currently managed as town belt land but not protected.

This land includes Stellin Memorial Park, Northland; parts of Polhill Gully, Aro Valley; Western Slopes Reserve, Northland; and the old Chest Hospital land, Newtown.

The plan also proposes to limit the development of sports facilities to existing areas, support community gardens, work with the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust on land reinstatement and clarify what activities are permitted in the town belt.

In July, Hataitai's Badminton Hall was granted resource consent to expand into the city's town belt. The High Court threw out an appeal by conservation group Action for Environment against the resource consent granted to Wellington Badminton Association in 2010. But uncertainty over a proposed highway through the area meant its six extra courts and 20 to 30 car parks may never get built.

The council plan also sets out ecological management guidelines for the replanting of native species in the town belt.

The Aro Valley and Polhill Gully area of the town belt will be planted with broad-leaved trees such as rimu, kahikatea, miro, matai and totara.

Selective pine trees will be removed from Mt Victoria. The plan also proposes to continue planting native forest in Palliser Rd.

Council natural environment portfolio leader Helene Ritchie said the town belt was an important part of the city.

"In 1841 there was an instruction that there be a public place in Wellington with no or minimal buildings," she said.

"The belief was that a public green space was good for citizens' health and wellbeing."

She said clear legislation would help protect the town belt.

The draft plan will be available for public consultation for two months. If approved, it would replace the 1994 management plan and the 1998 town belt land reinstatement policy.

These activities are prohibited in the town belt area:
Spreading of ashes or placenta.
Mining.
Riding horses.
Open fires.
Setting off fireworks.

These activities can be undertaken in a managed (and often licensed) situation:
Camping.
Parachuting or hang gliding.
Landing a helicopter.
Weddings.

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These activities are allowed in the town belt area:
Walking or running.
Painting, photography and filming.
Cycling or mountain biking.
Collecting firewood.
Picnics and gas barbecues.

 

- © Fairfax NZ News

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