Councillors voted unanimously to approve the proposed plan, which they believe strikes the right balance between managing and protecting the wild and rugged reserve with its special ecological and cultural values, while enabling better recreational access for people to enjoy it. Te Kopahou Reserve extends from the hill tops of Brooklyn wind turbine and Hawkins Hill down to the south coast beaches.
The draft plan was carefully developed building on the work completed for the Outer Green Belt Management Plan, and alongside input from key stakeholders and reserve users. It went out for consultation over the summer of 2020/21 and received a strong response from a variety of users from mountain bikers and walkers, to four-wheel drivers and environmental groups.
The final plan is the result of further ideas and information gathered from over 300 submissions, multiple visits, and conversations with reserve users out on site. The feedback gathered helped officers to better understand the needs, expectations, and desires of the different users, as well as concerns and how they might be mitigated.
Deputy Mayor Sarah Free is excited for the future of Te Kopahou and believes the new plan finds the right balance between conservation and recreation for a range of users.
“Te Kopahou is a special place for Wellingtonians, and as a destination it attracts people for all sorts of different reasons. It’s so important the track network plan reflects the needs of all the different users, and I think it does that very well, thanks to the considered and passionate input from the community.
“The plan is future focused and takes into consideration the long-term impacts of the decisions we make now. The reserve has so much to offer, and the plan lays out our commitment to protecting and enhancing that for the generations to come.”
When it comes to implementing the final plan, the Council anticipates ongoing partnerships with a range of community groups and organisations who are deeply passionate about the reserve and the values and recreational activities it has to offer.
Actions to come out of the plan will include new tracks, improvements to existing tracks, and amenity improvements (entrances redevelopment, shelter, water, signs, interpretation and seats), as well as monitoring and management of weeds.
Final track locations and construction methods will be carefully developed to enable opportunities for people to experience the area while protecting the important natural environment that attracts people in the first place – the sense of being in a wild and remote landscape just a stone’s throw away from the city.
The plan implementation will begin in 2023, subject to funding being approved in the 2023/2024 Annual Plan and subsequent Long-Term Plan (2024-2034).