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Single owner for regional park

Single owner for regional park

Thursday 24 March 2005

Environment Bay of Plenty is now the sole owner of the Bay of Plenty’s first regional park, the Papamoa Hills Cultural Heritage Regional Park.

In 2002, the regional council contributed one third of the purchase price to help its partner councils, Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council, buy the land. It recently bought out the two-thirds share held by the two territorial authorities for $920,000.

The move will free up the district and city councils’ resources for purchasing parks specifically for their local area, such as a sub-regional park being developed at Plummers Point.

Environment Bay of Plenty chairman John Cronin says the regional council is pleased to take over ownership of the region’s first regional park. “It is a very special place,” he says. Mr Cronin says the park is the first in what could grow to be a network of regional parks in the Bay of Plenty. Environment Bay of Plenty also recently purchased 20ha of land at Bryans Beach that may become a regional park at a later date.

Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby said allowing Environment Bay of Plenty to take full ownership of the park was the best strategic move for Tauranga City.

“It will allow us to direct more resources to the development of local parklands such as Kopurererua Valley and Carmichael’s Reserve.” Tauranga City Council manages the daily operation of the Papamoa Hills in partnership with Environment Bay of Plenty, including having a park ranger working on site, he said.

Western Bay of Plenty District Mayor Graeme Weld said the ownership move by Environment Bay of Plenty would enable his council’s attention to be focused on the continuation of securing other land under the joint sub-regional parks policy.

“With the cultural heritage park secure we can now get on with developing other sub-regional park initiatives. These initiatives, such as the park we are currently establishing at the end of Plummers Point, will eventually lead to a network of significant open spaces for outdoor activities and go a long way to filling demand for recreational areas between small local parks and DOC estate.”

Located near Te Puke, with access off Poplar Lane, the Papamoa Hills Cultural Heritage Regional Park opened to the public last July. Since then, many thousands of people have explored the 100ha park and enjoyed the 45 minute walk up to its summit, which offers sweeping views of the Bay of Plenty coastline. The land has a number of pa sites and is rich in Maori historical and ancestral associations.

The land was bought in 2002 as a joint project between the three councils. The long-time owner, Barry McNaughton, a former regional councillor, proposed the idea. A park management plan is being prepared to guide the long-term development of the park.

ENDS

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