Wake park plan gains a sup­porter

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Kil­ian De Lacy and Bruce Twi­dle say they are now ‘‘com­fort­ably neu­tral’’ about the pro­posed wake park for Aotea La­goon.

The Grey Power mem­bers — Ms De Lacy writes Kapi-Mana News’ monthly Touch of Grey col­umn and will soon as­sume a lead­er­ship po­si­tion with Grey Power — said they had pre­con­ceived ideas about the wake park, first mooted by de­vel­oper Paul Mar­low in 2008.

It has been grind­ing its way through the con­sent process with Porirua City Coun­cil and the re­gional coun­cil since, fac­ing stri­dent op­po­si­tion on the way from nearby res­i­dents and those who feel the pas­sive na­ture of the la­goon would be de­stroyed by the com­mer­cial ven­ture.

Af­ter a let­ter to the ed­i­tor from Sarah Piper in Kapi-Mana News on Jan­uary 14 praised the ‘‘ very quiet’’ and non-dis­rup­tive Anarchy Board­ing Park in Taupo, Ms De Lacy and Mr Twi­dle de­cided to drive there to see it them­selves.

Ms De Lacy walks around Aotea La­goon ev­ery day and said her per­cep­tion of a wake park there had al­ways been neg­a­tive.

‘‘ My at­ti­tude is that you shouldn’t gripe about some­thing un­til you’ve ac­tu­ally seen it. So we jumped in the car one morn­ing [ two weeks ago] and went to Taupo. What we saw was sur­pris­ing,’’ she said.

Anarchy Board­ing Park, near Huka Falls, cost more than $1 mil­lion and had its lake spe­cially dug for the project.

Ms De Lacy said it was quiet — just the low hum of the cable — and splash­ing was min­i­mal.

She said it was ef­fi­ciently run, with strict safety mea­sures, and seemed value for money.

The tow­ers at ei­ther end of the lake were ‘‘visu­ally neu­tral’’, Ms De Lacy said.

‘‘ Talk­ing to one of the top wake­board­ers in the coun­try there, he said there was huge in­ter­est in the sport over­seas and that devo­tees travel from coun­try to coun­try to test their skills.

‘‘So this could bring tourists to Porirua if it’s built. I’ve gained some knowl­edge of the sub­ject now and can see its pos­i­tive side. It’s more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly than hav­ing peo­ple pulled be­hind boats. I stand quite com­fort­ably neu­tral.’’

Ms De Lacy and Mr Twi­dle were to meet Mr Mar­low at Aotea La­goon late last week, to ask about the size, cost, traf­fic, build­ing plans and other is­sues.

Mr Mar­low wel­comed the meet­ing and said all he asked was for peo­ple to have an open mind.

‘‘It’s ab­so­lutely bril­liant that [Ms de Lacy] went to Taupo and I’d love to speak to Grey Power at some point, too,’’ he said.

‘‘ It’s tak­ing a while to go through the pro­cesses, but I’m pas­sion­ate about this project and still be­lieve in it.’’

He said his ca­bles would be qui­eter than Anarchy, even though they could carry six peo­ple to Anarchy’s one.

Over com­ing weeks Mr Mar­low’s team will carry out fur­ther sed­i­ment and stormwa­ter test­ing.

He said he was find­ing the process frus­trat­ing be­cause re­gional coun­cil staff turnover in the past five years meant he was of­ten deal­ing with dif­fer­ent of­fi­cers.

‘‘ Ev­ery time I com­plete any given part of the ap­pli­ca­tion with Porirua and Greater Wellington [coun­cils], they ask for ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion. But that’s life.’’

A cru­cial de­ci­sion to be made this year by an in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sioner is whether a con­sent to build a wake park at the la­goon has to be pub­licly no­ti­fied.

If so, Mr Mar­low said his plan to open in Novem­ber could be de­layed by as much as 12 months.

Photo: KIL­IAN DE LACY

Wakey, wakey: A wake­boarder has his turn on the Anarchy Board­ing Park in Taupo.

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