The Kawerau District Council is planning for future generations by proposing a land exchange and reclassification to allow for more housing developments.

In Friday’s Beacon the Kawerau District Council advertised its intention to exchange the Roy Stoneham Park recreational reserve (Stoneham Park or better known as the old Kawerau Soccer Fields) for a 5.44 hectare parcel of freehold Council-owned land on Fenton Mill Road which was currently operated as the Kawerau Stock Pound.

The exchange would be followed by a change of classification of the acquired land on Fenton Mill Road from a recreation reserve to a local purpose reserve, to enable the continued operation of the stock pound on that site.

Kawerau District Council chief executive Russell George said the Council has been talking openly about utilising Stoneham Park’s 5.42 hectares of land for additional housing for several years.

“The community was asked for their feedback and formal submissions about this idea in the 2018-2028 Long-Term Plan and it received considerable support.” 

“Although there is no urgency for Roy Stoneham Park to become a new housing subdivision – the Council wants to begin ‘future-proofing’ for future generations.” 

Stoneham Park Reserve was formerly the home of the Kawerau Town Soccer Club which converted the bare land at the then Ballantrae Reserve to four soccer fields in the early 1980s. When former Mayor Roy Stoneham passed away in 1983, the area was renamed Roy Stoneham Park in his honour.

Mr George said the park and its four soccer fields had been well utilised in the 1980s and 1990s by both senior and junior teams.

However, the amalgamation of soccer clubs in Kawerau meant soccer games were relocated to Firmin Field and Tarawera Park. In 2008, the former Kawerau Town Soccer Club house, which was located on a private section adjoining the Stoneham Park, was sold to a private individual and converted to a home.

The soccer club still operates from its home base at Tarawera Park and along with rugby and league and is part of amalgamated Kawerau Sports Club Incorporated based there.

“These processes take some time to complete and with all the positive economic development occurring and in the pipeline here in Kawerau we need to ensure there will be homes available for our future generations and for new residents.”

“We are asking people to consider the proposal and give their feedback. It is some way off and any housing development would always allow for playgrounds and green space for children and people to enjoy.”

Mr George said although the Council has started the land exchange and reclassification process, they would continue focussing on the completion of the Bowen Street, Te Ariki Place and the Porritt Glade Lifestyle Village housing developments.

For more information please visit the Kawerau District Council website or Facebook. Submissions must be in writing, addressed to the Chief Executive Officer, Kawerau District Council, Private Bag 1004, Kawerau 3169 or by email to submissions@kaweraudc.govt.nz and received no later than 12 noon on Friday 24 January 2020.