Time for Mana Island to be a real attraction
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.
Mana Island could see be a lot more accessible to tourists.