"This is an historic step that will ensure the Town Belt will always be available for the enjoyment of our people," says Councillor Helene Ritchie, the Council's Environment Portfolio Leader, on the setting of the guiding principles at last week's committee meeting.
The 387-hectare Town Belt includes Mount Victoria, Mount Albert, Newtown Park, the Hockey Stadium, Berhampore Golf Course, Wakefield, Macalister, Central and Kelburn parks and Te Ahumairangi (Tinakori Hill).
The agreement on the guiding principles paves the way for a comprehensive revision of the Town Belt management plan next year. The review will be subject to full public consultation.
"These guiding principles will now make sure community wishes and values are reflected in the Town Belt's day-to-day management," says Cr Ritchie.
The guiding principles are:
- The Town Belt will be protected and enhanced by the Council for future generations.
- The Town Belt will continue to be governed in trust by the Council, under the 1873 Deed and subsequent legislation on behalf of the citizens of Wellington.
- The Council will work in partnership with mana whenua to manage the Town Belt.
- The Town Belt's landscape character will be protected.
- The Town Belt will support healthy populations of indigenous biodiversity.
- The Town Belt is for all to enjoy.
- The Town Belt will be used for a wide range of recreational activities.
- The Council will encourage and support community participation in the management of the Town Belt.
- Management of the Town Belt will acknowledge historical and cultural links to the land.
The Council is not proposing changes to the way the Town Belt is governed. The 1873 Town Belt Deed will still be the key document and the Council will remain trustee of the land.
Cr Ritchie says while the Council already works closely with its iwi partners, one of the new guiding principles is that the Town Belt will be managed in partnership with mana whenua in the future., "This reflects the Treaty of Waitangi, our ongoing relationship with the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust and the importance we place on the memorandum of understanding the Council has with mana whenua."
In January, Council staff will prepare the draft revised Town Belt management plan for consultation in June.
For more information, drop in at your local library, call the Council on (04) 499 4444 or visit:
Projects - Town Belt Legislative and Policy Review
Wellington's Town Belt, Our Green Space - Facebook website