Councillors divided on $1 landdeal
Selling land for $1 to the Horowhenua District Council turned out to be more difficult than anticipated after some councillors raised objections.
At a council meeting in Levin, councillors voted to purchase some prime land near the Ohau vineyard for just $1.
But two councillors and the mayor were opposed to the purchase, which sparked debate in the council chamber.
The Bishop Vineyard Owners Association offered the 3113-square-metre lot to the council on the proviso that it could not build at the site unless the project was for the good of the community.
With the cost of maintaining the land at $1750 per year, Cr Barry Judd was concerned the council would be unable to look after it, especially if more sales like this went ahead.
‘‘I can still walk down Hokio Beach Rd and show you areas that are untidy and are not mowed that were previously mowed when we could afford to mow those reserves.’’
The council had a responsibility to maintain these green spaces, Judd said.
Cr Jo Mason said the public reserve would add to the appeal of this district.
‘‘We are talking about this being attached to subdivisions.
‘‘What we are likely to benefit from is attracting more ratepayers as a result of the evergrowing district.’’
The costs associated were minor considering the value it would add, Mason said.
Deputy mayor Wayne Bishop said it was shortsighted not to buy land for use as public reserves in a growing district.
Judd disagreed that his view was shortsighted, saying it kept the future in mind.
The council should only acquire more land if it could afford to maintain it, Judd said.
Cr Ross Branigan said the council should grab the bargain, though he shared some of Judd’s concerns.
Brannigan said he wanted more discussion on maintaining public areas if the council kept acquiring more.
Chief executive David Clapperton said plenty of land had been donated to the council in the past, so it was not out of the ordinary. Easton Park in Foxton, Barber’s Bush reserve and Thompson house and gardens were all gifted to the council.
Judd, Cr Christine Mitchell and mayor Michael Feyen voted against purchasing the $1 land.
All others present voted for the sale to go ahead: Bishop, and councillors Piri-Hira Tukapua, Bernie Wanden, Neville Gimblett, Mason and Brannigan.
Councillors Ross Campbell and Victoria Kaye-Simmons were not present.
The council spent about $1.76 million on 690 hectares of parks and reserves in 2016 to 2017.
Council parks and property manager Arthur Nelson said the council maintained all its reserves except for the Manakau Domain, which was maintained by Manakau United.