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Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown has welcomed the announcement that Watts Peninsula, the land currently owned by the New Zealand Defence Force on the Miramar Peninsula, will be vested in the public interest as a reserve of national significance.
The 76 hectares of surplus Defence Force land was being considered for disposal. Today's decision will enable both natural and historic heritage restoration of the area including Fort Ballance, the likely development of more walking trails, and will rule out housing development in the area.
Mayor Wade-Brown joined Arts Culture and Heritage Minister Chris Finlayson at Fort Ballance today to announce the next stage for the peninsula, planning for which would be led by a steering committee headed by Port Nicholson Block Treaty Settlement Trust chairman Sir Ngatata Love.
"Confirmation of long-term public ownership of the peninsula is a wonderful opportunity for Wellington and all New Zealanders," says Mayor Wade-Brown.
"As Mayor I look forward to working together to improve public access and deliver a brilliant mix of walking tracks, regeneration of bush and recognition of European and Māori heritage, especially its fascinating military history."
"This reserve area complements Council's existing enhancement works at Scorching Bay."
Mayor Wade Brown says there are continuing discussions about other attractions, including potential cultural and military museums on the peninsula.
"There are exciting possibilities for Wellingtonians and visitors alike," she says.
"Wellington City Council will be working in partnership on the long term plans for the peninsula, with the general public, local community groups and organisations such as the Historic Places Trust and Forest & Bird, to ensure the success of this nationally distinctive site for all New Zealanders."
Location of Fort Balance on the Watts Peninsula - http://g.co/maps/hm44m