Kawerau District Council will soon be consulting the public on whether Stoneham Park reserve should become a residential development.
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To keep pace with the increasing demand for residential property in Kawerau, the council has been making land available for housing development by exchanging reserves for other land.
It has proposed reserve status be removed from Stoneham Park and transferred to the council stock pound on Fenton Mill Road.
A recent example is the former reserve in Te Ariki Place, which has now been made available for residential development. In conjunction with Generation Homes the council has also made land available off Bowen Street and Porritt Drive for residential development.
The agenda for last week’s council meeting, in which councillors decided to go ahead with the plan, notes that Stoneham Park reserve had previously been used as soccer fields but no longer has any marked playing fields and is not used for any organised sports. The former soccer clubrooms have been sold and are now a residential property.
The agenda also notes that the stock pound land is entirely surrounded by reserve land and due to its steep gradient, it is unlikely to ever be used for residential development.
The council must now give the public a month to provide feedback on the proposed land exchange.
The exchange must be authorised by the Department of Conservation and it may not do so if there is strong public opposition.
There was at least one submission received to last year’s long term plan that did not support the conversion of reserves due to the loss of green space.
At the time council staff advised a residential development of the size proposed at Stoneham Park would require a playground, which might alleviate this concern.
councillors noted that this plan wasn’t new to the
community and it had been generally supportive of the