16 March 2006
Finally, a lake for Palmerston North
A recreational lake and residential development for Palmerston North is finally off the drawing board and now with the community for discussion, according to Titan 1, a nationwide development company with expertise in lakeside development.
Ross Gibson, project manager with Titan 1’s Palmerston North office, said the 37 hectare lake at Aokautere will be part of a 132 hectare residential development.
“The lake will be available for public use. The 3.2 kilometer perimeter of the lake will be accessible by a walkway and boardwalk along 90 percent of the shoreline. An additional 20 hectares of reserve land will also be able to be used by walkers and cyclists.
“The walkway system will link to the city via a walk and cycle bridge to the end of Albert Street. This will result in a continuous walkway system linking the lake, the Bridle Track and The Esplanade,” said Ross Gibson.
He says the lake design incorporates a sailing course capable of holding schools team racing events and an 1150 meter long straight capable of hosting kayaking, canoeing, waka ama and masters level international rowing.
A large public area at the north end of the lake will contain a reserve area, car-parking, commercial facilities, jetty, boat storage and clubrooms.
Previous lake proposals showed that a lake development of this size would cost the city as much as $20M. During 2000/01 the council acknowledged that in order for any lake proposal to proceed there would need to be some form of joint venture between Palmerston North City Council and a developer.
The current draft Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP) provides for $6.5M from the Palmerston North City Council towards the lake development. The lake and residential development is seen by the council as part of its urban growth strategy.
With its joint venture partner, Aokautere resident and land owner, Steve Hopcroft, Titan 1 has been discussing the project with the Palmerston North City Council for nearly four years.
Local interest groups have been pushing for a large publicly accessible lake for nearly a decade. Lake Aokautere Development Society chairperson, Mr Vaughan Cronin says the Titan 1 plan incorporates many of the suggestions from interested locals.
“We realise a group like ours or the council cannot in reality raise the money for a project like this without the help of a business such as Titan 1.
“These guys are locals and I have gained a real sense over the last couple of years that they are genuinely interested in the project. They have gone to great lengths to ensure it will be good for the city.
“Any development has its risks and its rewards. Palmerston North is sprawling towards the Aokautere area, so a well planned and aesthetically pleasing development close to the city is going to be beneficial to everyone,” says Vaughan Cronin.
Ross Gibson of Titan 1 says he is pleased the lake is now part of draft LTCCP released earlier this week by the Palmerston North City Council.
“It is now up to the community to say whether they want the lake. Their feedback is important in the lead-up to the Council decision in June as to whether the lake development should be incorporated in the LTCCP,” says Ross Gibson.
Major engineering investigations will then be undertaken and final costs for the lake development can then be calculated.
Environmental planning and design company, Boffa Miskell, developed the concept drawings. Engineers, Tonkin & Taylor, have to date undertaken an engineering scoping report.
With a working title of ‘city lake’, the name is still to be settled on. Ross Gibson said the name would likely be developed after consultation and input from Palmerston North residents.