Laser tag, a garden for the blind, a remote-controlled car racing track and a mini-golf course are among ideas residents have for the parkland at Riverside's Pohe Island, with a healthy food cafe the first to get permission.

Whangarei District Council went to the public after Northland Rugby Union decided it wanted to put a cafe in its soon-to-be-built clubrooms at William Fraser Memorial Park on Pohe Island.

Planning constraints mean only one cafe can operate in a 300-metre radius in the area, so the council wanted to make sure the proposal sat well with the public. They also asked what other facilities people would like in the area.

Twenty-nine people wrote in suggesting a variety of activities on land and water, including stand-up paddleboard hire, an amphitheatre, a marketplace, a model aircraft flying site and a flying fox.


Submitter Vince Cocurullo said the Town Basin should remain the dining focus in the area: " ... putting an extra food area on Pohe Island can distract as to why the park was put in in the first instance."

The council granted permission for the cafe because few had spoken against the idea.

"We went out to check with the community to see if there was an objection," Mayor Sheryl Mai said. "They have not said it shouldn't happen and have brought back other ideas as well."

The council was also considering recreation options for the 3500sq m carpark next to Te Matau a Pohe Bridge.