Published on 30 June 2022
At this week’s Council meeting the decision to sell some or all of the Forrester Heights land adjacent to Cape Wanbrow was made. Much of the land is designated “endowment” by Parliament meaning it has been given to the Council for the purpose of generating funds. Other parts of the site are “fee simple” being fully owned by the Council.
There has been a high degree of community interest in the future of Forrester Heights and Council was tasked with making the best decision for the Waitaki district which included taking environmental, economic, social, and cultural factors into consideration.
Between April and May 2022, the WDC carried out consultation with the community to determine the community’s view on the future of Forrester Heights. This garnered a wide range of views on the future of the site and the options for use of funds should the site be sold.
This week’s decision was subject to a variety of conditions including covenants on the site to protect views from the lookout together with planting, reflectivity, predators, and access to the Lookout from Test Street. The Council is therefore committed to ensuring that any sale of the site not just delivers a financial return for the Council to use for community benefit but also ensures an appropriate development that addresses many of the important points raised by residents in the consultation process.
Mayor Gary Kircher’s response to the decision:
“We greatly appreciate the feedback from everyone on this issue, and the considerable thought and effort put in by residents. This has all contributed to shaping the final decision. I realise that there will be some of you who haven’t felt they have had their voices heard, but we listened and made what we felt was the best decision for the whole district, which is our responsibility. We also took into account those concerns and have made a decision which has built in measures to mitigate the points raised, wherever possible. My hope is that not only can we have a development that is in sympathy with our harbour area, but we will also be able to use the proceeds to benefit a wide range of people in our community, particularly those with less access to reserves or affordable housing. However, the decision on how funds will be used will be made by the next Council.”