Napier City Council's plan to restore Marine Parade to its former glory and make it a "Kids Capital" has to be applauded.
It is a bold plan - real big-picture stuff - with some attainable short-term goals and a wishlist for the future.
It probably won't find favour with everyone, but at least it is a huge step in the direction of making Napier's waterfront an attractive place for people, especially families, to enjoy.
Obviously we all want beautiful, unspoilt coastlines outside our cities, but within our city limits we need development which takes advantage of the natural beauty and draws people to the waterfront.
Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott says the aim is to make Marine Parade "a place for kids, and kids of all ages".
A pleasing aspect of the plan is that people will see changes before Christmas. There is nothing worse then waiting for years before something begins to happen. I lived in Auckland for 10 years and it took the looming Rugby World Cup to get the council thinking about waterfront development and even then the final result was a watered-down version of what it could have been.
Napier's plan certainly sounds very good. A pond is expected to be included in a relandscaped area for picnicking, play and recreation, providing a link between the aquarium and a new junior bike track. Further north will be an extension to the parade's children's playground. A "next-step" project is a BMX Jump Park, expected to be included in the next annual plan and essentially an extension to SK8 Zone. One project already approved is a pier covering the stormwater outlet, near the Hawke's Bay Museum and Art Gallery.
Two proposals which fall into the wishlist category are a new cable ski adventure-tourism attraction on the site of the closed Marine land and a Wave Garden where people could surf an artificial wave. Both these projects would need to be public-private partnerships and would require significant cash.
That is fine by me. At least we have a plan. These last two items may turn out not to be achievable, but it is something to strive for.
My only query about this development plan is whether enough has been done to solve the problem of trucks on Marine Parade. Big trucks rumbling through at regular intervals is not conducive to family fun on the waterfront.
Mrs Arnott counters this argument by saying the number of trucks on the Parade has been halved in the last decade and the 40km/h speed limit has helped as well. She says the council can't just ban trucks from Marine Parade until all the regional road strategies are in place, providing alternative routes or other options. Fair point.
The focus today is on the bold plan to make the best of Napier's best asset - its waterfront.