A group wanting to protect and enhance a huge amount of land in Paekākāriki, which will be surplus once Transmission Gully is operating, wants Kāpiti Coast District Council to take a leadership role in the issue.
"We believe this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to help determine the surplus land and how that land might be used once Transmission Gully is completed at the southern end of this district in two years time," Wainuiwhenua Paekākāriki Working Group co-chair Jenny Rowan told council on Thursday last week.
"This is not just a Paekākāriki matter, its a district matter and in fact, the agencies that will be involved with the Public Works Act and Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) process will make the discussion a regional one.
"There is potentially 550ha of land surrounding Paekākāriki township which is currently owned by NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and will be declared surplus after the completion of Transmission Gully.
"The disposal of this land provides the opportunity for the community and iwi to develop and maximise environmental protection and enhancement, mitigate hazards and maximise opportunities for social and economic development of the community.
"And if done well this will afford a fabulous gateway entrance and exit to the district at the southern end."
Ms Rowan said the main purpose of the group, which features various individuals and groups, was to put together a plan to present to the NZTA by September this year "so they can take our suggestions into account as they do their own assessments for their surplus land".
"In doing so we need to work with council through each phase of the process.
"Phase two would come into effect later in the year and council needs to decide or not to become a lead government agency to help assess the land for public works.
"The role being that council would propose to LINZ a suite of public works that could be developed on these public lands.
"This information would be underpinned by the professional work that is being done by us."
Ms Rowan said, "Working together can bring together an extremely good result for us all".
"I know NZTA wants council to be the lead role and we as a community need your leadership as well."
She said timeframes were tight.
"We present our findings in September but a more detailed proposal would be put forward once NZTA declares surplus land and LINZ commences the disposal process.
"This will be done by the middle of 2020."