Porirua’s Spicer Forest is expected to be opened for recreational use, although it is unlikely to happen for several years.
Spicer Forest is located off Broken Hill Rd near the Porirua landfill and extends across Tawa’s north-western hills. It is owned by Porirua City Council and Wellington City Council and managed by Greater Wellington Regional Council.
Porirua City Council spokeswoman Barbara Bercic says the forest is due to be clear felled in 2016. “The land is to be retained for future recreational purposes and as a landfill buffer.”
However, the situation is complicated by Meridian Energy’s proposed Mill Creek wind farm in Ohariu Valley. The resource consent for the project allows Meridian to construct a road from Broken Hill Rd across the ridgeline into Ohariu Valley to provide access for machinery and construction vehicles.
Ms Bercic says the area is to be closed for two years while the road is built and during construction of the 26 Mill Creek turbines. Once Meridian has finished with it, the road will become an access route between Porirua and Ohariu Valley for walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders. “Meridian has also provided additional funding to build tracks throughout the area.”
She says the closure will enable both Porirua and Wellington city councils to develop detailed plans for the area. These proposals will be put out for public consultation and included in a future Long-Term Plan (likely to be 2015).
Meridian spokeswoman Claire Shaw says the company is still deciding whether to proceed with Mill Creek. Meridian’s board is expected to make a final decision within six months.