City councillors have endorsed the preparation of a Wavegarden business case, aimed ultimately at encouraging a commercial operator to invest in such a project which mayor Bill Dalton claims will be of no financial risk to the council.
The endorsement was made at yesterday's meeting of the council's City Development Committee. Meanwhile, the Napier City Council think-tank which came-up with plans for redeveloping the city's Marine Parade, including the Wavegarden artificial surfing park, is being remodelled to also support other tourism and development. The proposal to establish a more formal City Development Industry Working Group was also approved by the committee yesterday.
To be chaired by Cr Keith Price, who also chaired the parade redevelopment group, the new group will comprise council, business and industry representatives, including Xero founder Rod Drury, who first put the Wavegarden concept to councillors.
Others will come from Hawke's Bay Tourism, Sport Hawke's Bay and Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce.
"We wanted to expand the group and include people with solid industry experience and vision," Cr Price said.
"There's heaps of fantastic ideas being bandied about for Napier at the moment and this group will work to bring the best ideas to the forefront."
The forum will provide concepts and ideas for the future development of Napier from a tourism and economic development perspective.
Cr Price said the group will look at the many concepts that come to Council and will work with staff to undertake further research to determine if certain projects should be taken further.
"The proposed Wavegarden is a good example of what this group will work on," he said.
Meanwhile, a "Bring the WaveGarden to Napier" Facebook page, which Mr Dalton says was started in Wellington, was closing-in on 3500 "likes" last night.
"Great idea," said Rana Ross.
"Why not build an artificial reef on Marine Parade instead?" asked Moritz Mutch. "Then it's free to use."
Sunshine Coast Surf Imagery implored: "not sure how many of you are kiwi's on my page, but if you could give this page a quick like it would be awesome, great investment for my home town of Napier and surfing in NZ in general."