A sandy beach and an all-tide boat ramp could make way for more water sports, recreational activities and easier access for the Katikati community and tourists to enjoy Tauranga harbour.
"At Beach Rd we haven't got a beach so this would be a great asset," says Katikati Boating Club member Don Wallis, when pitching the idea to the Katikati Community Board at its June 10 meeting.
The project plan is to widen the boat ramp at the end of Beach Rd for the first 20 metres and raise the level over this length to facilitate full-tide launching, which is currently difficult.
The plan calls for a tapering of the foreshore from the area where the club's container (clubhouse facility) sits at Beach Rd, to the boat ramp in a northerly direction. The correct sand would be imported to create the beach.
Land is eroding with fallen trees in the water along the shoreline further south.
Don says he believes the sand to be a vital part of the shore protection and the club's resource consent (now expired) to remove sand from the Uretara stream in front of the town wharf and ramp, should cover any replacement sand needed in the future. The ramp and wharf are on boat club land.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council recently used a resource consent to improve the rock wall on the northern side of Beach Rd ramp and it is hoped this data could be used in obtaining the new consent.
"Geomorphologist Jeremy Gibbs, who was once a boat club member, will be advising us on the requirements," Don says.
Jeremy was involved in the design of the foreshore area by the Tauranga Yacht Club at Sulphur Point, which has been there for more than 20 years and remains stable. Similar sand retention structures may have to be incorporated in the design at Beach Rd.
Katikati Boating Club could contribute funds to the project by selling its property and possibly with manpower and expertise. Both ramps in Katikati were built by boat club volunteers.
The project requires council to have its existing consent (for the rock wall to the north of the ramp) modified, to include the rock wall and ramp work on the south side. A perpetual consent would also be required to replace sand on the beach which could be tied to taking the sand from the jetty area in town.
Club member Bruce Jonson says it's not just the club pushing for this, it's going to be a benefit for the whole town. A good example is the beach at Omokoroa.
Don is sure local iwi would be happy with the improved ramp and beach so they can operate their waka ama training programme and races. Katikati Fishing Club is keen to see improvements to the ramp and Katch Katikati and the Uretara Estuary Managers group have indicated their support.
Don says, "We have this vision. We know it can be done and we are willing to put money towards it. What we need is support from the community board and council.
"We want to work with the council early to work out how this could happen and decide the costs."
Western Bay councillor Anne Henry says it's wonderful and it's timely that this has come up.
"Don has a vision for the project and I support that. The club is only asking for help with the resource consents. We don't have a beach and this is a way of having a beach."
Anne believes the harbour is a taonga which needs to be treasured.
Further down the track the club will call a community meeting to ask the public for their input.