Dylan is the deputy editor of the Bay of Plenty Times.

Editorial: Credit for council's rethink


The Tauranga City Council deserves credit for coming up with a compromise that appears to have appeased those opposed to its Pilot Bay boardwalk plan.

The original plan to build a 3m wide boardwalk along the full length of Pilot Bay sparked a backlash and prompted a public protest at the council calling tenders for the construction of the $500,000 project.

Residents asked for it to be put on hold until concerns about the size, location and impact of the boardwalk on one of the Bay's most popular beauty spots had been met and a Facebook page headed "Say No to the Boardwalk" became a major public focus for the campaign against the boardwalk.

The council indicated it would be considering issues such as location, width and whether the boardwalk should go ahead or not. It held an open day at Pilot Bay where the council displayed the plan and sought feedback.

The council proved true to its word.

This week we reported the council had decided to relocate the boardwalk so that it ran as close to the side of the road as practical along the widest grassed section - from the toilets to the Salisbury Wharf carpark.

The revised plan has been given the nod of approval by Pilot Bay boardwalk protest organiser Colleen Spiro, who says she is "truly happy" with the compromise solution. "I did not think we would get that much of a compromise."

The revised plan meant the boardwalk was no longer smack in the middle of the main grassy area so families could continue to enjoy picnics in the area.

Pilot Bay's foreshore would now be able to be used by everyone including the disabled, mothers pushing prams, walkers and tourists.

The next step for the council is to go back to the highest tenderer with the changes. It will be built 100 metres at a time and was expected to take 15 weeks to complete.

It was pleasing to see the Bay's civic leaders show that they are willing to listen to reasoned debate and come up with a solution that suits all parties.

The boardwalk, while costly, will no doubt enhance the area and make it accessible to more people and this will no doubt have positive spinoffs for businesses.

Credit is also due to those groups who resisted the initial plan and - because they spoke out - were successful in forcing a compromise on the issue.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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