Open drain through domain
A storm is brewing over a private developer's scheme to build a large open drain through the northern edge of the Heathcote Domain.
Clampett Developments Ltd is building a retirement village on the old maltworks site next to the domain and wants the city council to let it redirect a stormwater pipe that runs through the middle of its development onto the domain's northern lawn area so it can fit more units in.
The new, 10-metre wide open drain and associated earthworks would take up about 3 per cent of the domain and would stretch about for about 60 metres.
The developers say the scheme will improve the amenity value of the northern section of the domain but opponents say if approval is given it will set an undesirable precedent.
"I don't think it would set a good precedent," Hagley-Ferrymead Community Board deputy chairman Joe Davies said.
"I'm totally opposed to this. I consider it an asset giveaway. We'd be giving away public land for private gain."
Council staff, too, have their reservations about the proposal.
In a report prepared for the community board they noted Heathcote Domain had been an important family and community gathering space for the past 28 years.
It was unlikely any additional land would come available to be added to the domain as it was basically landlocked by public roads, the railway and the Clampett development.
"If the northern part of this recreation reserve is taken up with a non-recreation use, this area will forever be lost for the purpose it was originally set aside for," council staff warned.
"To grant consent to use this recreation reserve for a purpose that is not for recreation, but instead to provide a service for an adjoining private land developer will set an undesirable precedent, to use public recreation reserve for private gain."
Council staff said it was not necessary for the developer to use public land in the Heathcote Domain, as the stormwater system could be redirected within the confines of their own land.
An independent valuation suggested that if the council did decide to allow the stormwater drain to be routed through the domain compensation of $100,000, plus GST, should be sought.
The board has decided to hold off making a decision on the issue until it has a chance to consult the community.
- The Press