Wake park plan gains a supporter
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.
Wakey, wakey: A wakeboarder has his turn on the Anarchy Boarding Park in Taupo.