Press Release – Wellington City Council
It’s the last week for submissions on the draft management plan for Wellington’s Town Belt. About 40 submissions have been received since consultation on the plan opened in October – and people interested in the future of the Town Belt have until 5pm on Monday to have their say.
Councillor Helene Ritchie, Wellington City Council’s Environment Portfolio Leader, says the Town Belt is held in trust by the Council on behalf of the people of Wellington.
“It marks a pivotal point of difference in the world for a capital city as it ensures that Wellington is unusually and accessibly green. Our landform, the sea and harbour and the vegetation of the Town Belt combine to create the landscape and special character of Wellington. Its visual, recreational, biodiversity, cultural and heritage qualities are central to who we are, as a city and a people.
Cr Ritchie says the Council is taking an historic step to further protect and enhance our Town Belt, with a proposed new management plan, 85 hectares of land formally added back into the Town Belt, and with new clarifying legislation to be considered by Parliament.
This will enable the Council to work in partnership with mana whenua and the community, and make possible the addition of land in the future.
The Town Belt dates back to 1839 when the NZ Company set aside 625 hectares of land “reserved for the enjoyment of the public and not to be built upon”.
Unfortunately one third of the land was lost for other community purposes including our hospital, government house, university and schools. In 1871 the remaining 429 hectares were conveyed to “the Mayor, Councillors and burgesses of Wellington and their successors”, on trust to be forever used as a “public recreation ground for the inhabitants of the City of Wellington”.
Cr Ritchie says both the management plan and proposed Bill aim to promote the protection and enhancement of the natural environment for all to enjoy.