Time to re­think fore­shore use as re­view ap­proaches

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

Is Pic­ton fore­shore a wasted space with end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties or per­fectly fine the way it is?

With a Pic­ton fore­shore re­view set down for next year, per­haps now’s a good time to get the think­ing caps on.

A hot pools and well­ness cen­tre was mooted dur­ing the Marl­bor­ough District Coun­cil’s longterm plan sub­mis­sions, but so too were volleyball courts.

But go­ing fur­ther back, who re­mem­bers Eric Collins’ dream of a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar gon­dola and hill­top res­tau­rant over­look­ing the Marl­bor­ough Sounds?

And who can for­get Pic­ton fore­shore as a place to fall in love, af­ter a hand-drawn love note sparked a 2015 ro­mance be­tween a Pic­ton res­i­dent and a Scot­tish tourist?

Next year’s fore­shore man­age­ment plan re­view, the first since 2014, will be used to guide fu­ture man­age­ment and de­vel­op­ment de­ci­sions, by pro­vid­ing an over­all vi­sion for the area.

At least 40 per cent of Pic­ton’s fore­shore must be left as ‘‘open green space’’ for events, pic­nick­ing and recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties.

The man be­hind the volleyball courts sub­mis­sion, Lochmara Lodge owner Shayne Olsen, said the courts would make use of the green space al­ready avail­able near Pic­ton’s coat-hanger bridge.

‘‘This is cur­rently used for the mar­ket on cruise ship days, but I’m sure this can be shared with not much ef­fort,’’ Olsen said.

‘‘It’s al­ready set up with seat­ing and light­ing ... but, at the mo­ment, it’s just grass.’’

Olsen re­quested the coun­cil give the volleyball courts its full sup­port as it would ‘‘give the fore­shore a heart­beat’’.

He es­ti­mated the courts, which would be free for pub­lic use, would cost the coun­cil less than $20,000 to in­stall.

‘‘Years ago, we used to play volleyball on the fore­shore in the summer,’’ Olsen said in his sub­mis­sion.

‘‘It was very pop­u­lar and cre­ated a very nice at­mos­phere. We would like to help cre­ate that at­mos­phere again.’’

A $15 mil­lion hot pool and day spa cen­tre, sim­i­lar to Han­mer and Tekapo Springs, was sug­gested for Pic­ton fore­shore dur­ing the long-term plan talks.

Pic­ton busi­ness­man John Reuh­man put the idea for­ward and said in his sub­mis­sion the cen­tre would ap­peal to both the fam­ily mar­ket and tourists, while cre­at­ing 30 jobs in Pic­ton.

Reuh­man asked the coun­cil to fund a fea­si­bil­ity study for the cen­tre, which coun­cil­lors later de­clined.

But Cafe Cor­tado res­tau­rant man­ager Deb Tau­moe­fo­lau said hot pools would bring in much­needed tourism dur­ing Pic­ton’s shoul­der sea­son.

‘‘We lack things to do year­round in Pic­ton, so any­thing to bring more peo­ple over is a good idea,’’ Tau­moe­fo­lau said.

‘‘I’d also like a volleyball court, bar­be­cue ar­eas and a pic­nic area near the kids play­ground, like in Waikawa Bay.’’

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