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Parks And Reserves Draft Plans Out For Consultation

Three Draft Reserve Management Plans have been released for public consultation by Hastings District Council today, with the feedback to be considered before the plans are finalised.

Eskdale Park and Frimley Park are getting their first RMPs, while the plan covering Tainui, Tanner, Tauroa and Hikanui Reserves (Havelock Hills) has been reviewed.

Despite each of the three plans having had its own separate community engagement process over the past 12 months, there were some very obvious synergies, said Hastings District Council assets manager Craig Thew.

“There is a very strong appetite within our community for increased biodiversity, particularly the restoration of indigenous planting, and a strong interest in knowing the history of our reserves, both pre- and post-European settlement.”

Both the Havelock Hills and Eskdale plans propose major indigenous plantings.

In Eskdale Park, that includes planting an indigenous forest on an area of the park currently leased for grazing. It also includes a new playground to replace the aging play pieces, a new accessible toilet facility, an accessible perimeter track to make the park more welcoming for people using wheelchairs and pushchairs, and planting and seating that would help keep dogs and vehicles out of the play area and off the existing cricket oval. In response to community concern regarding a desire by the Hawke’s Bay Mountain Bike Club to access the PanPac Forest via the park, the plan lays out how such an application would be managed and where it might fit in, should one be received by Council.

Within Tainui Reserve, a major focus will be on the protection of the ancient Hikanui Pā site. That would necessarily involve removing existing exotic trees which are threatening the site, and the construction of board walks to protect sensitive areas from foot traffic.

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“The Pā site is a small but incredibly important part of Tainui Reserve. Under the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act, we must protect the heritage site and all work undertaken on and around the site will be overseen by Heritage NZ,” said Mr Thew.

“It was really pleasing to see at the Havelock Hills workshop and through the broader community feedback just how much interest there is in knowing about this pā site and its history. We have been working very closely with mana whenua on this, and they will lead this element of the plan.”

To address issues raised by reserve users over conflict between walkers and bikers, completion of the mountain bike track in Tainui Reserve and further separation of biking and walking tracks are proposed.

The informal jumps in Tainui Reserve would be removed, as it is too close to the pā site, and the plan includes a proposal to expand and formalise the jumps area in Tauroa. Other initiatives include play equipment, the planting of ‘edible’ trees (fruit and nut), and Keith Sands Grove entry parking changes.

In Frimley Park, the plan proposes improved roadside car parking, a sensory garden, making better connections between the different elements of the park, expanding the playground, incorporating adult fitness equipment into the park, and constructing a new toilet facility.

“There is much more in the plans, and I do recommend people read the plans or the summary documents. We do realise that everyone uses our parks for different reasons and all have different opinions on how they should be managed and what activities are, in their opinion, appropriate or not,” said Mr Thew.

“Our job is to pull together and balance the diverse needs and views of our community then prepare draft plans for everyone to have a further say on. That enables us to give councillors the information they need to make their final decisions.

“We have had massive input from the community so far, and I thank everyone who has been involved. We are really looking forward to receiving feedback during this next formal stage of consultation.”

Copies of the draft plans can be viewed at libraries in Hastings, at the Hastings District Council customer services centre in Lyndon Rd, Hastings, or on-line at: www.myvoicemychoice.co.nz. Additionally, the Eskdale Park draft plan can be viewed at the public libraries in Napier and Taradale, and at the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council customer service centre.

Submissions close on Friday, September 2. Submission forms are available from the customer services centre or libraries. Submissions can be made on hard copy forms (free post address on the form), on line at www.myvoicemychoice.co.nz; or by emailing parks@hdc.govt.nz.

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