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Hutt Park Working Group Report

11 March 2002


The Hutt Park Working Group released its report last night on the future of Hutt Park, which contains conceptual plans that Hutt City Council can use as a basis for public consultation on options for developing the Park.

"Hutt Park is a tremendous asset and is one of the few remaining undeveloped flat areas in the city. The Working Group feels strongly that any development allows for enjoyment of the area by all citizens," said Working Group Chair and Hutt City councillor Joy Baird.

The Working Group's Terms of Reference were: * Review current and future uses * Report back to Hutt City Council on concept plans * Retain reserve status and recreation use * Any plans would need to fit within Council's long term financial strategy.

Before beginning consultation on possible uses the Working Group agreed on a number of principles that would underpin their decisions. These included: * That a long time frame (50 years) should be used * The area should be multi-use and single purpose use discouraged * Priority would be given to self-funding proposals * Uses should include areas freely accessible to the public * Any uses should complement existing city and regional facilities * Plans should enhance the Seaview Gracefield area.

The terms of reference and guiding principles led the Working Group to divide up the area into four activity 'zones.' These zones would be: sports grounds/village green; grandstand; indoor sports facility; and ecology.

Sportsground/village green zone This would see the building of a simple amphitheatre overlooking two outdoor sports fields. The Stopout Clubrooms would be retained and a kilikiti pitch developed. Some planting of the area would also be undertaken.

Grandstand zone The members grandstand would be retained and the old grandstands demolished. The trotting track would be removed and the greyhound track relocated. A third sports field would be included.

Ecology zone An area adjacent to Waiwhetu would be set aside and a wetland with native plantings and walkways established, which could bring eco-tourism benefits. The area would be open to the public and would include an interpretation center for educational purposes. The floodzone, required by Wellington Regional Council, would be retained.

Indoor sports facility zone There are limited indoor sports facilities in the region and the Working Group is recommending a feasibility study be undertaken and liaison with Sport Wellington and other Councils should also be started.

"It is important that people know that the Working Group is a separate entity from the Council," said Cr Baird.

"Further consultation and actual decisions on the future of Hutt Park will be made by Hutt City Council. This report is intended to provide concept plans and a basis for public consultation."

Some of the recommendations, if accepted by Council, will require funds to be included in the 2002/03 Annual Plan.

With respect to groups currently using the Park, the Working Group has recommended that the Council enter in to negotiations with the Stopout Soccer club over their lease of grounds within Hutt Park, and also follow up discussions with the Wellington Greyhound Racing Club.

"The Working Group carefully assessed proposals from existing users and weighed them against the principles that we agreed upon," said Cr Baird.

"The proposal from the Wellington Greyhound Racing Club to shift and upgrade their track was accepted by the Working Group on the basis that their proposal was self-funding and they were able to provide figures showing the numbers involved in the sport was growing."

"The proposal from the Wellington Harness Racing Club did not meet any of the Working Group's guiding principles."

"The Club gave no indication that they would make any financial contribution to the upgrade of the facilities they would be using and provided no evidence of studies they said they had done on Park use. They also wanted a lengthy rent and rate holiday, which was not something the Working Group could consider."

The Hutt Park Working Group also supported the Tenths Trust's concerns about protecting koiwi (human remains) and urupa (cemetery) in the event of any development. Part of the site was once a pa on an island, prior to the 1855 earthquake.

The Working Group agreed to a protocol to be followed in the event of any archaeological find.

ENDS For further information please contact: Cr Joy Baird Hutt City Council DDI: 918 7838

Website: http://www.huttcity.govt.nz

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