Plan to link park to beach by closing part of the Esplanade at Island Bay

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Island Bay – photo from @lyallbaynz

News from Wellington City Council
A 200-metre stretch of The Esplanade on Island Bay’s foreshore could be closed to traffic from June till the end of September in a trial that could, if successful, lead to the permanent closure of the road and the ‘linking’ of Shorland Park to the beach.

Yesterday’s meeting of Wellington City Council’s Environment Committee was briefed on the proposal by Council officers – the latest stage in an evolving investigation into the future of the area that was prompted by the collapse of part of the Esplanade seawall in last June’s ferocious southerly storm.

The planned roadway closure will be subject to approval by the Council’s Regulatory Committee – after public notification. If approved, the roadway would be closed from Reef Street to the southern end of Shorland Park – and through traffic would be rerouted via Reef Street and the southern end of The Parade.

The Environment Committee Chair, Councillor Iona Pannett, says the trial would enable the Council to assess traffic impacts – but also enable the public to get a taste of how the area “could work” if decisions are ultimately made to redevelop the area.

The Council’s Climate Change Portfolio Leader, and a Southern Ward Councillor, David Lee, says the trial could lead to significant changes to the beach and foreshore – with the possible reinstatement of sand dunes that could more readily cope with storm surges and expected rises in sea levels.

Fellow Southern Ward Councillor Paul Eagle, who lives on The Esplanade and chairs the Council’s Community, Sport and Recreation Committee, says the situation presents a unique opportunity for the community to positively shape the future look of Shorland Park, the nearby dog area – “Poo Park” – and to explore options for the former Island Bay surf club building that currently sits on the beach.

“We want to create a premier park for families so I’d like to see local children expressing their ideas – many in the community have fond memories of the former kids paddling pool – and connecting it to the beach could provide better spaces for playing and swimming, walking and relaxing.

“Moving the surf club building off the beach and integrating it near the park could deliver a food outlet offering a decent coffee and authentic Italian pizza too for example” says Cr Eagle.

Cr Pannett says the proposal to temporarily close the road follows early consultation with the public – including a Council stand at the Island Bay fair in February where strong public support for a permanent road closure ad redevelopment of the area was recorded.

“However we’re well aware that a lot of people – including members of the local Italian families with strong fishing histories – like the seawall and foreshore the way it is – so that’s why we’ll be doing more consultation. It’s essential that we give everyone a say on the proposals for the area.”

Further details about the seawall and related issues are at:

http://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/projects/island-bay-seawall-replacement

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/islandbaylittleitaly?fref=ts

If the road closure is approved, data collected from traffic counts would be combined with other information to inform the Council’s Long Term Plan.

 

5 comments:

  1. The City is Ours, 10. May 2014, 1:42

    Good idea moving the Surf Club Paul; just be aware it is currently leased by WCC at peppercorn rents to a private trust. The right of renewal for another 5 years was taken up by the same trust last year in October.

    http://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/meetings/committees/regulatory-processes/2008/12/10

    If the wall has historical value to the Italian community it should be incorporated in the new design as not to lose it altogether; mixing the old with the new.

     
  2. Curtis Nixon, 10. May 2014, 13:23

    Great idea! Not sure about the practicalities of moving the surf club. But breaking down the separation of the beach from the road/park would be oarsum! I would like to see the storm water drains at either end opened up with bridges and fences so they don’t act as barriers to people accessing the rest of the coast. Like the stormwater outlets/stream at Lyall Bay and Owhiro Bay. Better for little fish to get into. Open the stream back through Shorland Park, like the stream in Khandallah Park. And please plant some shade trees, rata by preference.

     
  3. peter@east-welly, 11. May 2014, 10:30

    The City is Ours – good call. My understanding, the original letting process wasn’t put out to open tender. It was another of those back-room deals’ that the WCC is well known for. All around our Council there is a greater need for transparency.

     
  4. WCC Watch Eastern, 12. May 2014, 20:33

    Agree with all of you. I have heard through my local eastern mothers group that there were issues with the Island Bay Festival being charged for using the surf club. They weren’t impressed at all, after all it’s a community facility isn’t it.

     
  5. Mike, 12. May 2014, 22:28

    Excellent idea!

     

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