Public's view sought over selling reserve land
Invercargill residents will be asked to give their thoughts on a proposal to sell two areas of public reserve land to businesses already on the sites.
The respective owners of the Cabbage Tree Restaurant and the Beach Road Holiday Park lease Sandy Point reserve land at Otatara from the city council. The businesses have asked the council if they can buy the land.
Councillors were divided when discussing the issue at this week's full city council meeting, eventually deciding in an 8-4 vote to remove the reserve status at the two sites and freehold the reserve land subject to public consultation.
The main reason the eight councillors voted in favour was so the proposal could go out for public consultation, with the council to make its final decision after that.
Council parks manager Robin Pagan said yesterday the Cabbage Tree Restaurant is on 0.9 hectares of Sandy Point reserve land and the camping ground on 5.2ha of reserve land.
The council leases the land to the two businesses and uses the rental money to help maintain the reserve, Mr Pagan said.
At the meeting, Cr Norman Elder said both the restaurant and camp ground owners had made substantial investment and improvements to the reserve land they occupied. "People will say there's going to be a precedent set [if the council sells the reserve land], I would suggest it's a good precedent because anyone applying for freeholding status would have to do it on their own merits."
Cr Thelma Buck said the two businesses had put a lot of money into their businesses on the reserve land and the council should be supporting such businesses. She supported getting the views of the public, saying the community should have its say.
But Cr Ian Pottinger said the council already supported the two businesses by letting them lease the reserve land at below market value.
"I feel the Invercargill citizens would like to retain the control and ownership of that land forever," he said.
"I don't think it's right to benefit two members of the public over the rest of the community."
The councillors who voted to remove the reserve status of the restaurant and camp ground land at the Sandy Point reserve land and sell it subject to public consultation were Norman Elder, Thelma Buck, Graham Sycamore, Lindsay Abbott, Darren Ludlow, Graham Lewis, Neil Boniface and Lloyd Esler. Those who voted against were Mayor Tim Shadbolt and councillors Ian Pottinger, Alan Dennis and Carolyn Dean.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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