Tasman District Council on Thursday Nov 16 unanimously supported a master-plan for the Mapua Waterfront area for the next 20 years, including a rejection of the Mapua Boat Club’s boat-ramp proposal. This follows a year of vigorous advocacy by the club for a new ramp, turnaround area and vehicle access along the southern side of Waterfront Park. The new ramp was intended to replace a small boat ramp on the north side of the wharf that was closed by the council last year.
The new Mapua Waterfront Master Plan was adopted quickly at the council’s November meeting, with no substantive discussion by councillors. This was because councillors had earlier been involved in wide-ranging discussions during a hearing committee stage and considered reports and submissions on an earlier draft of the plan. The committee, including one iwi representative, had before them reports arising from five weeks of public consultation and a total of 386 submissions from residents on various issues.
Shortly before the hearing committee’s report was tabled, Tasman Deputy Mayor Tim King told the council that the Mapua boat ramp issue was one of two on the agenda that had resulted in deeply divided opinions in the communities affected, the other issue being a proposal to demolish the historic grandstand at the old Golden Bay showgrounds. Mr King said that in both cases, whatever the resulting decisions, councillors were likely to leave half the community unhappy over the result.
Tabling the Mapua waterfront report, TDC strategic manager Sharon Flood said councillors were sympathetic to the needs of the Mapua boating community for a ramp. However, their “over-riding reasons for rejection of the club proposal included:
The location of the council’s high pressure sewer main near the proposed ramp site;
Marine health and safety issues;
High estimated project costs;
Parking issues and traffic congestion and
The fact that nearly half the public submissions were strongly against the ramp plan.
The report said the hearing committee had delayed its hearing to allow the Mapua Boat Club more time to present revised drawings and costs for its proposal. However, it noted that the club did not support an option of a regional study to determine the best site for a new regional boat-ramp. The club’s “strong view was that proposed ramp (at Waterfront Park) was not a regional solution, but a Mapua solution only”, the report said.
Councillors were concerned about additional information about the proposed ramp site from the TDC harbour master, Mr Dan Cairney. He had raised issues over “the strong tidal currents in the area, the known build-up of logs and flood debris in the eddy there and the proximity of the proposed boat-ramp to Mapua Wharf”. The report noted that the wharf was “well-known as a popular location for wharf jumpers and swimmers”. The committee also noted that the boat-ramp would need to be wider than the planned 11 metres.
Councillors were particularly concerned about the proximity of the proposed ramp to the wastewater pumping station and main sewer from Mapua to the Bells’ Island treatment plant. Also in the same area was the council’s gravity sewer located along the existing rock sea wall.
“Both of these pipes are strategic council assets and, if broken, would create significant environmental contamination issues with raw sewage being directly discharged into a highly populated area and into an estuary of significance,” the report said.
The hearing committee said it felt Boat Club estimates of the cost of the proposed boat-ramp and associated works were “best case scenario costs,” “Its quote and the two quotes provided in support….did not take into consideration the location of the waste-water mains pipe or any associated mitigation measures and costs,” it said. A quote from the firm Opus of approximately $918,000 for the boat ramp was seen by the council as “more realistic, with the report noting that some of the works may be able to be carried out for less, depending on the contractor, but that other costs would need to be factored in with regard to the waste-water main”.
Another issue raised was the expected increase in boat and trailer traffic to the area, bringing with it potential congestion. The proposal was for boat owners to park vehicles and trailers in the carpark at Waterfront Park as well as additional parking on the council-owned remediated land on the western side of Tahi St.
“This would potentially create parking difficulties and conflicts during peak periods with other visitors to the Mapua Wharf,” the hearing report said.
Submitters to the draft plan were concerned over the loss of community space for families, added noise, traffic congestion, parking conflicts and pedestrian safety issues that a boat ramp would bring to the Waterfront Park site. “Many were also concerned about the contaminated nature of the site and the potential for toxic chemicals contained under the ground to leach into the estuary as a result of any soil disturbance.”
“A large number of children submitters from Mapua School did not support the boat ramp option and preferred to see the area used for a playground and other recreational facilities”, the report said.
The committee considered other local boat ramp facilities in the area and noted that “a significant number of submitters strongly opposed any upgrade of Grossi Pont boat-ramp, as they wanted the reserve kept for swimmers, walkers, picnickers and small craft, with minimal vehicle use”. Councillors recommended that Grossi Point boat ramp be left as is and retained as a launching site for only smaller craft.
In presenting the report, Ms Flood said that the committee had set short and medium term goals for the main areas covered by the Waterfront Plan. Other key areas dealt with in the plan were:
1. The area between the Golden Bear Brewery and the estuary: The plan proposes to rezone the area from commercial to a reserve, to restore the grassed area, add additional seating and ensure ongoing protection of the ngaio tree there.
2. Mapua Wharf area: Preserve the vibrancy of the Mapua Wharf and surrounding area as a visitor destination. In the short term the council will maintain ownership of buildings and land and enhance delineation of the shared zone. It will continue to work with Tamaha Sea Scouts to find a solution for their boat and gear storage needs
3. Waterfront Park: Council will retain the open park space and explore improvements to enhance community facilities and park use. In the short term, improvements include picnic tables, seating, barbecues, rubbish bins, shelter and investigation of a low-key playground.
Grossi Point: While the committee agreed to minimal change to the Grossi Point Reserve, the council would undertake clearer identification of the areas for different activities and prevent car and trailer parking in the reserve area of Grossi Point.
Another change was to work with iwi to develop an archaeological plan to “preserve and protect the cultural heritage of the reserve”.
The plan proposes that boat owners using Grossi Point for launching boats will need to park their cars and boat trailers on council-owned remediated land further north on Tahi St
Main changes the council made to the earlier draft Mapua Waterfront Master Plan were decisions:
Not to sell council-owned land or buildings at Mapua Wharf in the short term.
Not to sell remediated council-owned land on the western side of Tahi St in the short term but to retain the land for parking in the short-term and as a future strategic asset
Not to put a boat storage shed at Grossi Point for the Tamaha Sea Scout Group and to retain a boat storage area and facilities for the Scouts at the wharf. The Scout Group did not favour moving to Grossi Point.
Report written and submitted by David Mitchell