Council buys Durie Hill section near War Memorial Tower

Published on October 30, 2020

Durie Hill War Memorial Tower

Whanganui District Council has bought 9 Blyth Street near the War Memorial Tower on Durie Hill for use as a public reserve. 

Councillors adopted recommendations agreeing in principle to proceed with the purchase of two properties – 3 and 9 Blyth Street – subject to reaching agreement on satisfactory terms of sale with the vendors, at a council meeting on Thursday, 22 October. 

Council officers have confirmed the purchase of 9 Blyth Street is now unconditional, with a settlement date of Friday, 20 November 2020. 

A council offer to purchase 3 Blyth Street was not accepted by the vendor. 

The 22 October meeting was held to consider submissions and hear from five submitters following public consultation, after community group Step Up Durie Hill requested the council consider buying the vacant section at 9 Blyth Street. 

More than 120 submissions were received. In addition, a letter of support with 192 signatures was received for the purchase of 9 Blyth Street. 

Of the 119 submissions on 9 Blyth Street, 99 were in support, one was neutral and 19 were opposed.

The purchase of 3 Blyth Street generated 117 submissions. Ninety-five supported the proposal, three were neutral and 19 were against. 

Most submissions in support focused significantly on the iconic nature of the location and the preservation of views and openness of the site. Those opposing cited concerns about priority of funding, the rates burden and that there was no community benefit. 

The open space immediately next to the War Memorial Tower is an easily-accessible site for outstanding views over Whanganui and is close to the Durie Hill Elevator, one of the city’s most visited attractions. 

The high number of submissions also reflected how important the area was to all Whanganui residents. 

The council also adopted the review of its Psychoactive Substances – Local Approved Products Policy at the 22 October meeting. One submission was received in support of the review. 

The Psychoactive Substances Act 2013 came into force on 18 July 2013 and created a regulated market for the legal sale of approved recreational psychoactive products by licensed sellers. In 2014, under the act, the council adopted its Psychoactive Substances – Local Approved Products Policy 2014 and was required to review its policy within five years of the date on which it was made. 

All submissions on the land purchase at Durie Hill can be viewed on the Council website