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Partnerships Underpin New Victoria Domain Reserves Management Plan

Strong partnerships with Te Ātiawa, the community and user groups now and into the future are the pillars of the new reserve management plan for Picton’s Victoria Domain Reserves.

“This is a great outcome and has been a great process. The submitters were well informed and passionate,” said Hearings Panel chair Councillor Cynthia Brooks at the Marlborough District Council’s Assets & Services Committee meeting this week.

“It has also been a great partnership between Te Ātiawa and the Council in preparing the management plan as well as establishing an ongoing partnership to achieve the objectives of the plan,” she said.

The review of the 1995 reserve management plan for the popular recreation area between Picton Harbour and Waikawa Bay began in late 2017 through meetings held with a wide range of user groups. These meetings provided an understanding of the way Victoria Domain was used, how different groups valued the space and what their future aspirations were for the area.

The Council contracted Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui Trust to partner in preparing the new plan given its importance for the local iwi. Te Ātiawa provided an initial draft of the plan and this was further developed by Council staff.

A draft went out for public submission in September last year with 39 submissions received, 11 of which presented to a hearing panel comprised of Councillor Brooks and Councillors Nadine Taylor and Michael Fitzpatrick.

“This process resulted in a number of changes to the proposed draft plan. The new reserves management plan allows for a small expansion in walking and biking opportunities,” said Councillor Taylor. “And it also allows for some places to be left quiet, which we heard was important to the community,” she said.

The plan’s overall vision treasures the Reserves as a place for recreation but more importantly that natural, cultural and historical values are respected and responsibly protected and enhanced. It takes a long term view of community aspirations and has specific actions to help achieve objectives, something that the previous plan did not have.

“The Victoria Domain Reserves are a special place enjoyed by thousands of locals and visitors each year. We believe the new reserves management plan strikes the right balance for this special place, this taonga,” said Cynthia.

Some actions are short term such as removing the Douglas Fir trees, others are longer term such as the construction of new tracks and some actions such as pest and weed control will be ongoing, she said. “The plan builds on and recognises relationships with various groups who have a passion for enhancing and protecting ecological, cultural and recreation values of the reserves,” she said.

The more well-known parts include Victoria Domain itself, Endeavour Park, Shelly Beach, Bobs Bay and Memorial Park but the whole area is approximately 222 hectares. It provides for a wide range of recreational activities and has significant natural, cultural and historic values. The Reserves offer ridgeline tracks for walkers and cyclists and a lower track that connects the Picton and Waikawa marinas.

The Council has a legal requirement under the Reserves Act for reserve management plans to be prepared and reviewed for reserve land administered by the Council. The new Victoria Domain Reserves Management Plan is subject to final approval by the full Council on June 24.

To view the new Victoria Domain Reserves Management Plan go to:

https://bit.ly/2ThcnwX

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