Two open sessions are being held in the next couple of weeks so anyone interested in the area can drop in and talk with Council staff about how they use the area and what they value about it. These will be held:
- Monday 30 March, 7.00pm - 9.00pm, at Island Bay Community Centre, 137 The Parade, Island Bay
- Sunday 5 April, 11.00am - 3.00pm, at Te Raekaihau Point (or Island Bay Community Centre if the weather is wet or very windy).
Views can also be provided via an online questionnaire on the Council website in the Public Input section. The ideas will be used to help develop a draft plan for the area, which is expected to be available for community feedback in a few months' time.
The rocky, wind-swept point is close to the newly established Taputeranga Marine Reserve and was the proposed site for the new Marine Education Centre until the Environment Court over-turned its resource consent in 2007.
The Council's Environment Portfolio Leader, Councillor Celia Wade-Brown, says the passionate debate over the Marine Education Centre is an example of Wellingtonians' strong feelings about the South Coast.
"Both sides wanted to improve the native habitats and now we have the funds to help do this."
Te Raekaihau Point isn't in its original state - fill has been dumped there over the years and weeds, pests and vehicles have also taken their toll.
"We're not proposing to remove fill and restore this area to its original state - that would be too expensive," she says. "But landscaping with native coastal plants, new seats to enjoy the views and a restoration project to help recreate habitats for penguins are some of the possibilities."
Aerial photos show an ongoing decline in shrubs and more vehicle tracks since 1945 so proposals are likely to include changes to where cars can and can't go.
Up to $350,000 of Plimmer Bequest funding is available for this project. The proceeds of the bequest made by Charles Plimmer can only be used to improve Wellington City's parks, beaches and coastal areas, and upgrades so far include Scorching Bay, Oriental Bay and Central Park. Charles Plimmer was a successful businessman and property owner who was born in 1849. His father John Plimmer was a well-known Wellington identity, sometimes referred to as "the father of Wellington".