Almost 500 people signed a petition against the potential sale of part of Whanganui's Cornmarket Reserve.

Mike Webber delivered the petition to Whanganui district councillors on Tuesday and said the number made "it well worth presenting".

The reserve is one of 23 properties Wanganui District Council has identified as surplus and which could be sold to pay off debt and invest.

"I think this is an admirable stance to take," Mr Webber said at the council meeting.


But he said Cornmarket Reserve was one "which seemed to cause concern immediately to people that we talked to".

Mr Webber said the reserve made for an attractive gateway to Whanganui from the north and it connected with the river and the parks on the other side.

It also helped motorists on Somme Parade and Dublin St, he said.

"The open space there obviously gives quite good visibility to what's happening on the other roads approaching the intersection."

Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall said any sale was "about three hurdles away" and the 23 properties were listed as possible sales rather than proposed for sale.

"I know that sounds like dancing on the head of a pin but it was to seek discussion from the public and so this is the end position which is good," he said.

"You're coming back with many different people who are opposing this.

"Please be assured we won't be selling it overnight and we may not even be contemplating selling a portion of Cornmarket Reserve."


Councillor Rob Vinsen said if the reserve was officially proposed for sale it would go through a public consultation process.

"It's not a foregone conclusion that this council can say, 'we've got a buyer, it's sold'."

Mr Webber said he understood that.

"This really is to give a marked view of a lot of citizens that 'hey, this is one you should really think about'."