Public to have say on land

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By SHELLEY TOPP

Public submissions are sought on the development of regeneration land at Pines and Kairaki beaches which is to become part of Tuhaitara Coastal Park.

The park is administered by the Te Kohaka o Tuhaitara Trust in a joint partnership between Ngai Tahu and the Waimakariri District Council.

“The good bit about that is that it is owned by the people of New Zealand,” trustee and district councillor Neville Atkinson says.

“We want to make sure that while we are enhancing what is already here, we are also improving, returning and doing what we can to make people want to use something here.”

The trust considers it a privilege to be given the land to incorporate in the park, chairwoman Catherine McMillan says. “We look at Tuhaitara Coastal Park as being the jewel in the crown of the Waimakariri District,” she says.

“We are aiming to bring a lot more vitality back to the (Pines and Kairaki Beach) area and encourage more people to be here,” she says.

The draft plan for the land, designated for regeneration after being red-zoned in the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes, includes ideas for the use of the residential and forest areas while also promoting coastal protection, environmental stewardship and recreation opportunities.

An identified entrance to the new part of the park is planned, with a possible educational facility nearby.

The trustees also hope to develop a community garden and a Rongoa garden to cultivate trees and plants used in traditional Maori medicine.

The Kairaki regeneration land includes areas interspersed between privately owned properties.

The trust hopes these areas will be used to provide “environmentally-friendly, self contained, perhaps off-grid-style accommodation”, trustee Joseph Hullen says.

He gives the example of the tiny home movement – “stuff that sits lightly on the landscape, with native plantings throughout the area”.

“Biodiversity attracts more birds and makes it a much nicer more enjoyable environment for the people who already live here, the people who utilise the camp grounds, the people who utilise either the river or the park itself,” he says.

However, the trust wants the community to tell them what they want for the area.

“We don’t have a plan that we are just going to foist on to the community and say, ‘this what you are going to get’.”

The submission process gives the community the chance to have a say on how the area should be developed, he says. “There are no bad ideas. Some are just more feasible than others.”

Full details of the draft plan are available on the trust’s website. “Log on, have a look and see what we are about and provide some feedback,” Joseph says. Submissions close on April 14. A copy of the draft plan is also available at the Ruataniwha Kaiapoi Civic Centre.