News, Events and Culture

The Manawatu River Park, have your say

Monday July 20 2015

The Manawatū River Park stretching from the Manawatū Gorge to Longburn will become the city's largest recreation park providing a destination for residents and visitors.

Shared pathways will run the length of the park on the northern bank of the Manawatū River, and the park will also include a significant section of the southern bank.

The park proposal is outlined in the draft Manawatū River Framework, which the council approved for consultation last month.

Mayor Grant Smith says it's now the public's turn to have their say on the details - what the park will look like, and what facilities and amenities it will have.

"It is a once-in-a-generation chance to have your say on a project that will leave a fantastic legacy for future generations."

The river framework is a 30-year plan and is in keeping with the Manawatū River Accord, he says.

Gateway Final_.jpg

City Planner David Murphy says the aim is that every year there will be more to do and more people will spend time in the Manawatū River Park.

Work on the park will continue over several decades. At this point the council has set aside just under $1.2 million to spend on projects over the next five years, and it is these ideas they are seeking feedback about.

"Individually, each project will benefit some sector of the community - put them together and they will transform the environment and our relationship with the river."

Policy Planner (Urban Design) Jennifer Esterman says historically the river was very important to residents and many of the areas along the banks are significant to Rangitāne.

"The council is committed to working with Rangitāne to ensure key sites are treated with respect and dignity. We're also working with them to help tell Rangitāne o Manawatū's stories."

Miss Esterman says in the middle of last century, the community started to turn away from the river and the river suffered as a result. "In recent years, due to efforts of many people and organisations we've begun to understand the importance of the river and this project will help cement a connection with the river in the lives of generations to come," she says.

"We need to hear from individuals and groups to find out what their dreams and aspirations are for the river. What facilities do they want? It might be picnic areas, skateboard facilities, views of the river, access to swimming spots, or improved access for those with disabilities."

The consultation period runs from 20 July 2015 until 28 August. "We hope the six-week time frame will allow the community to take some time to think about what is important to them and what they want to see at the river," she says.

Residents are being asked to consider their thoughts on:

  • The overarching plan and the creation of four distinct zones: Rural West, Urban, Rural East and The Gateway
  • The pallet of materials and the types of plants to be used in the park given much of it is in a flood zone
  • The sort of facilities they would like to  see
  • Have we got the project time-frames right?
  • Would you be interested in taking part in Placemaking activities in the Park?

The Draft Manawatū River Framework document can be here or, by visiting a branch of Palmerston North City Library or Council's Customer Service Centre on The Square.

In November, all submissions will be presented to the Sport and Recreation Committee for consideration and a final recommendation will go before the full Council later this year.