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.