Greater Wellington buys land to manage Hutt River
Greater Wellington Regional Council has purchased the land on which Manor Park Golf Club sits and leased it back to the club in a deal which manages flood risk, provides opportunities to improve the amenities of the Hutt River Trail while enabling the club to continue operating for the foreseeable future.
“Much of the land occupied by Manor Park golf course presents a flooding and riverbank erosion risk and will be needed for flood protection in the future. It has flooded in the past and will again in the future. Full ownership will enable us to better manage the river’s flood risk, and to progress environmental restoration and recreational opportunities in the Hutt Valley,” says Cr Prue Lamason, chair of the Hutt Valley Flood Management Subcommittee.
“Now that we have secured control of the land we will be able to manage Te Awa Kairangi/Hutt River in a more contemporary manner, allowing it to follow natural processes within a broader buffer zone contained by soft edges rather than expensive hard rock structures.”
There will also be opportunities to develop an extended River Trail cycle network in partnership with Hutt City, undertake water supply resilience work and ensure that any future development takes into account the flood risk appropriately.
Greater Wellington has purchased the land but not Manor Park Golf Club’s assets, such as its clubhouse and sheds. The land has been leased back to the club for a fixed term of 20 years.
“We primarily want to ensure we can control the land for flood protection purposes.”
In the short term Greater Wellington will work with Manor Park both on environmental enhancement and greater access to the land for recreation. Options for enhanced recreation would include development of a shared pathway adjacent to the Rail corridor, extending the existing river trail up to Silverstream Bridge.
“We would also look forward to working with the club and the community to further develop the environmental enhancement work the club has started” says Cr Lamason.
In the long term, attention will turn to broader ecological enhancement that will support the creation of ecological corridors across the Hutt Valley.
“Let’s be clear, the purchase of this land has nothing to do with any desire on the part of Greater Wellington to own a golf club. This is strategic land that we need to control in the interests of ensuring safety and the protection of regional ratepayers’ interests in the Hutt Valley. It will also help achieve the community’s objective that our rivers should return to a more natural form. “