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Study will look ?at how to make the most of our city beachfront

Opinion Piece

A land use study for the area stretching along Gisborne’s shoreline raises some exciting possibilities for this district and could prepare the way for the council’s next major project.

An update on the Waikanae to Waipaoa land use study was part of a series of presentations on major projects made last week to the Future Tairawhiti committee. They covered a range of subjects, from the library expansion to the navigations project. It is a large to-do list covering projects worth $100 million during the life of the present 10-year plan.

Initially the study will focus on the Waikanae area where much of the land involved, such as the holiday park, is under council control. It would then gradually extend along the shoreline to Te Kuri a Paoa/Young Nicks Head.

The first thing that catches the eye, and probably the most appealing, is the possibility of an extended walkway/cycleway all the way around to Te Kuri a Paoa.

The popularity of the existing Oneroa walkway and the strong demand for an extension along the Taruheru River shows how welcome this would be.

Gisbornites have long looked with envy at what Napier has done with a sea frontage extending right along the Hawke’s Bay coastline, facing beaches we consider inferior to ours.

But the situation here is different. The land has considerable cultural value to Maori and they would have to be heavily consulted. The Kopututea Trust has already generously made the dunes area to the river mouth available to the public, and has a co-management plan in place with the council.

Another issue is the present industrial subdivision, which was put on prime land in the 1960s. Mayor Meng Foon has called at times for a gradual relocation of these industries, but it remains in the too-hard basket.

The suggestion from chief executive Judy Campbell that beachfront developments could be the district’s next major project, when the present long list is completed, has considerable merit. In the meantime there is plenty of time for a thoughtful and comprehensive study.