12 Aug 2009

Council considers sale of park for shopping mall

5:28 pm on 12 August 2009

A sports ground in Whangarei may be sold to build a shopping mall, following a district council hearing.

Public submissions are being heard on a developer's offer to buy almost six hectares of land next to Okara Park for $20 million.

The council land is currently leased by the Whangarei High School Old Boys Rugby Club, but the lease expires next year.

A consortium headed by Hill Construction wants to turn the land into a commercial site for retailers.

The council says $20 million is more than twice the market value and the development would create jobs and new rates income.

Objectors say a new mall would hurt businesses in the city centre and destroy a useful park.