Negotiations are under way between the Nelson City Council and Wakatu Incorporation for the lease of land the company owns for a new walkway development beside the Maitai River, as part of the proposed city-to-sea link.
The council is planning the first stage of the link as part of the Heart of Nelson strategy, which will take in staged development of Rutherford Park, the Trafalgar Centre upgrade and the Maitai walkway through to the Nelson marina.
The section of walkway the council wants to expand traverses land owned by Wakatu, from Trafalgar St near the West Yates building through to an area near the Trafalgar Centre.
A portion of the money for the project was included in the latest long-term plan round.
The council has been in confidential negotiations over land associated with the walkway development, and Wakatu Incorporation chief executive Keith Palmer confirmed the council had been in talks with the company over a lease arrangement.
"All the council wants to do is put in a walkway across our land and we're just working through the lease arrangement," Mr Palmer said.
He said they had not yet talked costs, but Wakatu wanted to work with the council in a positive way.
"We see what they want to do is lengthen and widen the walkway to vastly improve the area, and want to turn it into a proper public amenity."
Mr Palmer said Wakatu was a major player in Nelson city and accepted it had a role in helping the city develop. For that reason it aimed to help the council make this particular project happen.
Wakatu Incorporation represents multiple iwi interests in the top of the South Island and is one of the biggest landowners and ratepayers in Nelson and Tasman.
In its lengthy submission to the city's long-term plan, Wakatu recommended that the council consult with Wakatu on all development proposals considered for Nelson where it owned the land or surrounding land affected.
Using Montgomery Square as an example, which the council planned to beautify as part of the Heart of Nelson strategy, Wakatu said it was important it was consulted as landowner and as tangata whenua of the area at the planning and decision-making stages of the proposal, rather than at the stage of implementation.
Wakatu owns a portion of the land in the Montgomery Square car park which is leased to the council. Plans to upgrade it were put on hold following the council's loss in a High Court case over its failure to consult properly.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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