Land Purchase at Durie Hill

Submissions closed on September 30, 2020, 05:00 PM

Blythe Street

Whanganui District Council is seeking feedback on the purchase of properties at 3 Blyth Street and 9 Blyth Street for use as a recreation reserve.

Private development of 3 and/or 9 Blyth Street has the potential to affect the view shafts from the lower levels of the Durie Hill War Memorial Tower, as well as the general sense of ‘openness’ in the Durie Hill Reserve area.  

A Council meeting to consider and hear submissions on the proposal will be held at 9.30am on Thursday, 22 October 2020 in the Council Chamber, 101 Guyton Street. The meeting is open to the public and will be livestreamed on the Council Facebook page.

Submissions on the proposal closed at 5.00pm on Wednesday, 30 September 2020.

Background

Durie Hill War Memorial Tower and the Durie Hill Elevator are iconic destinations within Whanganui for both residents and visitors, with over 35,000 trips in the Durie Hill Elevator taken a year.

Whanganui District Council currently owns land in Blyth Street that surrounds and services the Durie Hill Elevator upper entrance and the Durie Hill War Memorial Tower. This reserve land is adjacent to, and opposite, 9 Blyth Street.

The Council is considering the purchase of 3 and 9 Blyth Street (circa $0.5M debt-funded) as a Council reserve. This would protect the iconic views from the lower levels of the Durie Hill War Memorial Tower, as well as the general sense of ‘openness’ in the Durie Hill Reserve area.

Purchase of the properties would require debt-funded, unbudgeted  expenditure, and is not required to comply with the levels of service for reserves set in the Long Term Plan 2018-2028.

Aerial map showing 3 and 9 Blyth Street

9 Blyth Street is located directly next to the Durie Hill War Memorial Tower. The property consists of 740m² of land with services provided and is fully usable due to the slight sloping contour.

3 Blyth Street is located directly next to the Durie Hill Elevator upper entrance and viewing platform. The property consists of 660m² of land with approximately 400m² of this being a flat, usable contour. The remainder is steep and unusable beyond planting and view protection.

Options

Option 1

Purchase of both 3 and 9 Blyth Street (preferred option)

Under this option, the Council would purchase 3 and 9 Blyth Street (circa $0.5M debt-funded), with the land to be vested as a Council reserve.  

Advantages    Disadvantages

Durie Hill is a district-wide attraction for Whanganui and the purchase of 3 and 9 Blyth Street will provide security of views across the entire city.

In addition, the purchase of 9 Blyth Street will ensure the retention of an ‘openness’ at the base of the Durie Hill War Memorial Tower and provide additional opportunities for future use, including local events.

The purchase of these properties will require unbudgeted expenditure and will need to be debt-funded. Ongoing annual costs are expected to be foregone rates and debt servicing.

The additional reserve land is not required to comply with the levels of service for open space set in the Long Term Plan. This means that Durie Hill currently has enough open space to meet the targets set.

Option 2

Purchase of 9 Blyth Street only

Under this option, the Council would only purchase 9 Blyth Street with the land to be vested as a Council reserve.

Advantages    Disadvantages

The purchase of this property will ensure the retention of a sense of openness at the base of the Durie Hill War Memorial Tower and provide additional opportunities for future use, including local events.

Although the purchase of this land alone does not guarantee views cross the city or south-west Whanganui, in the event that 3 Blyth Street is privately developed, improvements could be made on land already owned by the Council at this location to ensure those views were possible.

The purchase of 9 Blyth Street alone does not guarantee views across the City or south-west Whanganui in the event that 3 Blyth Street is privately developed.

Purchase of these properties would require unbudgeted expenditure and would need to be debt-funded. Ongoing annual costs are expected to be foregone rates and debt servicing.

The additional reserve land is not required to comply with the levels of service for open space set in the Long Term Plan. This means that Durie Hill currently has enough open space to meet the targets set.

Option 3

Status Quo (do not purchase further land)

The Council already owns some land on Blyth Street. Under this option, there would be no further purchase of land on Blyth Street.

Advantages    Disadvantages

There would be no unbudgeted cost implications.

There would be no change to the levels of service set under the current Long Term Plan.

The subdivision to create 3 and 9 Blyth Street was completed in 2010. 9 Blyth Street, while relatively flat, has been on the market for a number of years and would be a challenge to effectively develop due to ‘overlooking’ and noise from the Durie Hill War Memorial Tower.

 

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If purchased by someone else, development on 3 and 9 Blyth Street could impact view shafts at the lower levels of Durie Hill War Memorial Tower.

9 Blyth Street would not be available to provide additional opportunities for future use, including local events.