Canvassing for more ideas to develop the port

By John Maslin

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The Whanganui District Council is extending its call for ideas as part of its port rejuvenation project.

This will kick off with the first of several master planning workshops being held from 5.30-7.30pm tonight at Whanganui War Memorial Centre.

Kym Fell, council's chief executive officer, said the revitalisation programme affects not only the port itself, but also businesses surrounding it and all of the people who use it.

"It's important we talk to as many different people as we can about what Whanganui port should be like for our community in the future," Mr Fell said.

"This affects all aspects of the port and surrounding areas and covers many different uses, including coastal freight, boatbuilding and servicing, as well as recreational and community facilities."

Tonight's initial meeting will form reference groups that will remain closely involved in the master planning process over the lifetime of the port rejuvenation programme.

He said it's intended the reference groups will provide a balanced and representative view of the community as well as relevant insights and expertise that will ultimately help determine a master plan for Castlecliff port.

And council has indicated its determination to push the project by inviting input from any business with an interest in the port to complete the "registration of interest form" (at www.whanganui.govt.nz/port). General ideas, questions or concerns about the project can be directed to http://whatdoyouthink.org.nz/port-revitalisation-project-give-us-your-ideas/.

A cornerstone to the public/private development is already in place with Q-West Boat Builders indicating it was going to invest some $4 million, with other money from the Government ($500,000), Whanganui District Council Holdings Ltd and the council itself.

The port was also included as a focus area of Accelerate25, the Manawatu-Whanganui Growth Study's action plan.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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