Kyra is the Rotorua Daily Post's police, emergency and court reporter.

St John to expand if land swap gets go-ahead

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PLANS: Land between Pererika and Amohau Streets planned to be exchanged. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER
PLANS: Land between Pererika and Amohau Streets planned to be exchanged. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER

St John Ambulance looks set to expand its Rotorua station, if a proposed land swap gets the go-ahead.

And the land exchange - between Rotorua Lakes Council and Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust - will also allow the city's skate park to be extended.

The scrapping of the Victoria St Arterial route in October 2014 meant St John could stay in its Pererika St location.

However because the facilities were going to be bulldozed to make way for the bypass the building had been allowed to fall into disrepair.

For the past 18 months St John has been in discussion with the council in order to finalise the land they need to extend and rebuild on the current site.

To make that happen, the council is proposing to exchange areas of existing reserve for an area of ex-railway land that currently belongs to Ngati Whakaue, managed by Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust, between Sheaf Park and Pererika St.

EXCHANGE: Council is exchanging the blue area with Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust for their yellow area. PHOTO?SUPPLIED
EXCHANGE: Council is exchanging the blue area with Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust for their yellow area. PHOTO?SUPPLIED

Jean-Paul Gaston, group manager for Strategy and Partnerships, said the council wanted to exchange the reserve area with a strip of land between St John's current location and the skate park.

"This will enable St John to lease additional land and provide space for a proposed extension of the skate park."

The area to be leased to St John is about 1100sq m.

The rest of the area will remain green space.

"It is an exchange of land rather than a purchase. The only cost associated with this for council is about $7200 which includes about $6000 to subdivide the area and approximately $1200 in legal fees," Mr Gaston said.

He said council policy allowed for leases of up to 10 years except under exceptional circumstances when it may extend to 20 years. Where it was proposed that a lease be longer than 10 years, a decision of council was required.

After 20 years St John would need to apply for a new lease.

St John is also looking to have direct access to Amohau St, but the location of access is yet to be finalised with New Zealand Transport Agency.

"Council has been in discussion with St John and the owners of the land being exchanged for about 18 months.

"The area of land is currently reserve and requires a change in status to enable council to lease it," Mr Gaston said.

Public consultation, required under the Reserves Act 1977, closed on July 22.

Two formal submissions were received and three people provided verbal feedback.

Mr Gaston said a report, incorporating the submissions and feedback, would go to the council's Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee in due course for approval to proceed.

"If approval is given, council will then need to seek approval for the land exchange from the Department of Conservation, which administers the Reserves Act."

St John Ambulance was unavailable for comment yesterday.

See more information at this link on council's website. .

- Rotorua Daily Post

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