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Council to buy farmland above Akaroa

17 May 2007

Council to buy farmland above Akaroa

The Christchurch City Council has ensured the preservation of the Akaroa skyline with its purchase of Misty Peaks, a  489-hectare farm above Akaroa. The land will become a reserve and will also ensure the protection of the Aylmers Valley town water supply.

Announcing the purchase today, Mayor Garry Moore says at the time when Banks Peninsula became part of Christchurch, Council said there would be increased opportunities for Christchurch people  to enjoy Banks Peninsula.

 “The purchase which was a unanimous Council decision will enable people forever to tramp and walk in an area which is so dear to the hearts of Christchurch people,’’ Mr Moore says.  “It’s a step I’m really proud of and future generations will say this Council made a superb and visionary purchase of such a fundamental part of  our landscape.’’

“We now have greenspace from McLeans Island through to the Akaroa Heads.’’

Councillor Bob Parker who has been instrumental in bringing about the original land purchase process says "The merger between Banks Peninsula and the city has already delivered a lot of benefits, but many of them have been low-profile infrastructrual projects. This purchase brings a tangible visual and recreational benefit to both peninsula and city people.

"The land is a vital piece of background to the town and I am delighted it will be protected and enhanced for generations to come''.

Parks and Waterways planner Kelvin McMillan says the acquisition of the property will extend the Hinewai and Armstrong Reserve from 1205 hectares to a continuous conservation area of 1693 hectares.

“It is a fantastic opportunity to achieve a huge land area which we can manage and protect. Locals are already doing great work on predator control and promoting biodiversity such as penguin protection. DoC and ECan also are working in the area so the Council is now another major player in ensuring the preservation and protection of the area.

“It has great potential for individuals and organisations to work together in for an outcome which will benefit everyone.’’

Buying the farm will protect six plant species on the New Zealand threatened plant list and six species rare to the area. It will extend the habitat for 21 native bird species and five lizard species. Native bush will be allowed to regenerate.

It will also increase opportunities for increased walkways for tourists, locals and visitors to the area.

Mr McMillan says  the area houses the supplementary summer water supply catchment for Akaroa.  The purchase ensures this will be protected and preserved to ensure a constant supply of high quality water.

“All around it’s a win-win situation which will be of tremendous importance to the township,’’ he says.

Initially part of the catchment area above Akaroa will be grazed with sheep to control grass. This will be phased out to allow the natural  regeneration of kanuka.

The farm which was owned by Misty Peaks Ltd  has been bought for $1.85 million.

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