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GDC explores future for Waikanae

A COMPREHENSIVE new study of the whole beach front from Waikanae to the Waipaoa River mouth and beyond could lead to the area becoming the next major project for Gisborne District Council.

The council’s Future Tairawhiti Committee was given an update of the Waikanae to Waipaoa Land use study, which could transform the whole area.

Strategic Planning manager David Wilson said the study would provide the council with a good understanding of the area, which would be vital for making decisions about its future that were consistent with its natural, cultural and amenity values.

Possibilities to be considered as part of the study were an extension of the coastal walkway from Midway Surf Club, the redevelopment of council parks and property assets in the area and the connectivity of the active transport network.

The drivers for the study were the urban development strategy, the long term plan and the community facilities strategy.

The study would include maps outlining existing land uses, key locations such as the Olympic Pools and the surf clubs, areas identified as being at risk in the coastal hazard zone and patterns of land ownership.

They would show potential routes for a pathway extending from Grey Street to Te Kuri a Paoa Young /Nicks Head incorporating the Waipaoa River mouth and links between the important locations along the coastline and points in the central business district.

Making connectionsThe study would clarify a vision for a walkway connecting with the coast, the Navigations Project and the Oneroa Walkway.

Chief executive Judy Campbell said the area was important to the district as it was a "shop window" to the world, the city's playground, and because of its cultural importance.

“It becomes actually stages two and three beyond the navigations project,” she said.

“When we have finished the navigations stuff, this is the stuff we should be working on.”

The council already had a co-operative agreement with the Kopututea Trust, the owners of the coastal land behind the beachfront. They would be important players in any development.

It extended from Waikanae to the river so a theme of “from stream to sea” would be appropriate.

The study would include the industrially zoned land in Awapuni.

“We have had a lot of discussions about that land over time and at the end, as far as I can tell, have done nothing.

“This would be the chance to have that conversation and deciding how active the council will be in ensuring that shop window and playground is the best it can be over time,” Mrs Campbell said.

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