Dive plat­form ‘rite of pas­sage’ nearer


Stu­dents missed out on cheaper trans­port, but those who want to dive-bomb Porirua’s har­bour from State High­way 1 are a step closer to get­ting a $290,000 jump­ing plat­form.

Last week, Greater Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil locked in a 7.9 per cent av­er­age rates in­crease af­ter coun­cil­lors fi­nalised their an­nual plan – the bud­get for the next fi­nan­cial year.

Coun­cil­lors voted to in­clude $80,000 to­wards build­ing a dive plat­form near the SH1 bridge at Pare­mata.

It would be con­di­tional on the New Zealand Trans­port Agency chip­ping in the same amount, which fol­lows Porirua City Coun­cil’s $130,000 con­tri­bu­tion.

The plat­form would aim to tempt young peo­ple away from us­ing the bridge as a div­ing spot into the har­bour dur­ing sum­mer.

Porirua mayor Nick Leggett de­fended the ex­pense of the plat­form, say­ing it boosted safety and the full cost­ings were yet to be done. ‘‘Kids are go­ing to jump, I think we’ve got a re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure it’s safe for them and other peo­ple us­ing the wa­ter and roads.’’ Jump­ing off the Pare­mata bridge was a rite of pas­sage for a lot of peo­ple in Porirua, he said.

‘‘I don’t want to stop peo­ple jump­ing. If you look down at the Welling­ton wa­ter­front there’s great op­por­tu­ni­ties there.’’

Welling­ton’s wa­ter­front has its own div­ing plat­form near Te Papa, which has a max­i­mum height of 8 me­tres at low tide and cost about $100,000 in 2012.

Greater Welling­ton chair­man Chris Laid­law said the coun­cil had a re­spon­si­bil­ity for mar­itime har­bour safety.

‘‘Our peo­ple in the har­bours depart­ment . . . are say­ing there are huge risks there, and the risks are get­ting big­ger.’’

While it was a win for the plat­form, the coun­cil­lors also voted to not in­clude a trans­port dis­count for stu­dents be­cause of po­ten­tial le­gal risks.

But an amend­ment from coun­cil­lor Daran Pon­ter was passed that stated the coun­cil would re­view fares and tick­et­ing, in­clud­ing stu­dent dis­counts, for next year’s an­nual plan.

The bulk of the 7.9 per cent rates in­crease cov­ered in­fra­struc­ture costs in­clud­ing the up­grade of the re­gion’s train fleet with new Matangi, he said.

The an­nual plan will get fi­nal ap­proval on June 29.

Jump­ing from the Pare­mata Bridge has been a tra­di­tion for Porirua’s young peo­ple.

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