Two submissions on land exchange

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Submissions on the Waitaki District Council’s proposal to exchange reserve land at Oamaru Harbour were heard at a panel hearing yesterday.

The Oamaru Harbour Development Strategy 2011 and the Long Term Plan 2009-19 and 2012-22 envisaged the exchange of former railway land, now classed local purpose reserve, for Oamaru Harbour Endowment Land at the ocean and harbour foreshores.

The council acquired former railway land from the Crown in 2008 with the intention of integrating it into the overall development of the Oamaru Harbour area, with the land being transferred to council as local purpose reserve.

Council’s adoption of the Oamaru Harbour Development Strategy in August 2011 and the Oamaru Harbour Land Rationalisation Plan in October 2011 provided for the exchange of reserve and endowment lands.

Submissions on council’s proposal closed on January 12, with two submissions received.

Harry Andrew, on behalf of the Oamaru Steam and Rail Society, supported the proposal but wanted to see the addition of a second rail corridor that would allow access to Holmes Wharf.

He said for that to happen, the society would be willing to give up a section of currently unused rail it owns in the area around McKeown Petroleum’s yard, which is likely to be expanded.

The society owns the stretch of rail from its sheds at the Victorian Precinct to the penguin colony, the corridor it currently uses.

It was handed ownership of the rail in 1992 by Kiwi Rail.

Andrew said he was pleased to see progress being made in regards to land status in the area.

“I think it’s good to see movement is going forward and the land can be used for more than growing weeds.”

Waitaki District Council property specialist Graeme Pointon said the society’s submission could be a reality: “It’s really a matter of negotiation.”

Bruce Comfort backed the society’s proposal, but sought assurance form council its proposal was legal and complete.

He was also concerned about how the proposal would affect the legal status of roads, such as parts of Wansbeck St and the Esplanade.

Councillor Jim Hopkins suggested Mr Comfort’s submission fell outside the proposal, which Mr Comfort argued did not but said he was prepared to “take it on the chin” at this stage.

The panel went into committee after the submission hearing to discuss the proposal further.

By Daniel Birchfield