Time for Mana Is­land to be a real at­trac­tion

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - DANIEL WHIT­FIELD

Brian Paget wants to see Mana Is­land used more.

He wants an education cen­tre/biose­cu­rity check­point built on a va­cant sec­tion of land next to Dolly Var­den Beach car park.

It would be a fa­cil­ity where peo­ple could learn about Mana Is­land and book tick­ets to visit Porirua’s most western point.

Paget, a Pare­mata res­i­dent and pres­i­dent of Friends of Mana Is­land, said the idea was not new and had resur­faced in 2015.

He said Mana Is­land was a tourist at­trac­tion, but there was a prob­lem ac­cess­ing it.

Friends of Mana Is­land takes about 300 peo­ple to the is­land each year, but Paget said there was wider ap­peal.

‘‘We’re tak­ing the lead be­cause we see the pos­si­bil­ity that’s there. This has more than just a com­mu­nity fo­cus – it’s some­thing the city can ben­e­fit from,’’ Paget said.

‘‘If Porirua is keen to de­velop one of its as­sets, this is what we need.’’

Mana Is­land is about 3km off the coast near Porirua. It is smaller than Kapiti Is­land.

It takes about 20 min­utes to get to the is­land by boat and the pub­lic can visit be­tween 8am and 5pm ev­ery day, but the only ac­cess point is the bay be­tween the old wool­shed and the wharf.

Paget’s con­cept is for bus­loads of tourists to be able to take a trip to Mana Is­land for a unique ex­pe­ri­ence.

He said it would be great for Porirua.

‘‘We’ve been do­ing a lot over there in the last few years. Now we want to show peo­ple what’s there.’’

Paget said the pro­posed fa­cil­ity would take time to build and would cost about $1 mil­lion.

There is also the ques­tion of who would op­er­ate the ser­vice.

‘‘The land is al­ready zoned for what we have planned. We’ve talked to Porirua City Coun­cil, the lo­cal Ro­tary club, and Guardians of Pau­ata­hanui In­let.

‘‘We’re at a point where the plan is ready for the next step.

‘‘What we want is pub­lic feed­back. Then we would need to find some­one to en­dorse and man­age the pro­ject. Ideally it would be great to have some­thing op­er­at­ing by the time Trans­mis­sion Gully is com­plete.’’ To sub­mit feed­back to Friends of Mana Is­land, email con­tac­tus@man­ais­land .org.nz.

PHOTO: FAIRFAX

Mana Is­land could see be a lot more ac­ces­si­ble to tourists.

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