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Waitangirua and Whareroa secured for future

News release
19 August 2005

Waitangirua and Whareroa secured for generations to come

The Government's decision to purchase Waitangirua and Whareroa Farms and permanently protect them is fantastic news for the greater Wellington region, said the Chairman of Greater Wellington Regional Council Ian Buchanan.

"With suburban growth and increasing population it is vital that we retain open spaces for recreation and public enjoyment. If Waitangirua and Whareroa had been lost to the public, we would never have recovered them. Now, they are secure for generations to come," said Mr Buchanan.

Under the proposal announced today Greater Wellington will be asked to contribute $2.8 million toward the purchase of Waitangirua Farm, which forms the core of Belmont Regional Park.

"In principle this is a very good deal for the region, and I expect the Council will want to respond promptly to the Government's proposals," said Ian Buchanan. "Nevertheless, the contribution of $2.8 million toward the purchase of the farm is a substantial investment for Greater Wellington, and demonstrates the importance of this property to the region."

"With regard to Whareroa Farm I will be taking a proposal to the Council that the region includes the farm in the regional park network. This may mean additional management costs for the region in the longer term, but given the government's generosity, strong community support, and the fact that Whareroa is adjacent to Queen Elizabeth Park it seems the sensible approach to take."

Ian Buchanan said that if the Council agrees to take over management of Whareroa it will want to work closely with the local community.

"As part of the process of developing a management plan we will invite the community to help us establish a vision for Whareroa, and will want to find ways to engage the community as actively as possible in the future development of the property. The local community has played a crucial role in achieving today's result, and I am looking forward to developing a productive long-term relationship between the community and Greater Wellington."

Ian Buchanan said that councillors and staff from Greater Wellington had worked closely with city and district councils and community groups to achieve today's result.

"This is a great result for the community, and again demonstrates that when the community and councils work together we can achieve positive results for the region. In particular I'd like to recognise the work done by the Friends of Belmont Regional Park, Friends of Queen Elizabeth Park, the Guardians of Whareroa, Friends of Maara Roa, Porirua and Hutt City Councils, Landcorp, and of course by Greater Wellington's own Parks and Forests Department, to achieve this outcome."

"Most particularly, I'd like to thank the Minister of Conservation, Chris Carter, for making this decision happen. The half a million people who visit Belmont Regional Park and Queen Elizabeth Park every year can thank him for ensuring our proposals received a favourable hearing at Cabinet."

ENDS

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