The public is one step closer to owning 100ha on Wanaka’s local landmark, Mt Iron.
The Queenstown Lakes District Council announced last week settlement day is expected to be early this month and fencing around the reserve is nearly complete.
An opening event is now being organised at the Allenby Pl car park entrance at a date yet to be confirmed.
Community services general manager Ken Bailey said he was excited about the reserve and thanked the current owners, the Cleugh family and Allenby Farms Ltd, for working with the council over the past 18 months on the ownership transfer.
‘‘With over 180,000 people scaling the existing tracks each year, council’s purchase of land on Mt Iron and Little Mt Iron is critical to protecting local recreation areas for residents, visitors and future generations,’’ he said.
After a new title had been issued by Land Information New Zealand, the council would notify its intention to create a reserve management plan.
Mr Bailey said the management plan would be a critical chance for the Upper Clutha community to share how it wanted Mt Iron managed in the future.
People would be able to continue using Mt Iron while the plan was being developed.
Walking tracks would remain open, but no new developments would be permitted until community feedback had been reviewed.
Mr Bailey said there was already a range of ideas for how the site could be used and more community drop-in sessions were planned.
Wanaka Upper Clutha Community Board deputy chairman Chris Hadfield said he was delighted with progress made in securing the land and he was keen to hear more views from the public.
‘‘This is a great opportunity for us to hear from people who cherish this location and to understand what it is about Mt Iron they love, what they want to see made available on the site, and what they want protected or maintained,’’ he said.
The council has also applied to the Department of Conservation to acquire and manage another 52.8ha of reserve land next to the block being bought from the Cleughs and Allenby Farms.