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Te Oneroa, beachfront walkway to reflect Waikanae stories

27 Jun 2014

Te Oneroa, beachfront walkway to reflect Waikanae stories

Plans for Te Oneroa the beachfront cycle and walkway between Waikanae and Midway, will be on view for the public next week. Gisborne District Council staff and Councillors will be at Peppers Restaurant opposite the Olympic Pool on Friday 4 July between 11am and 4pm ready to answer any questions and show the detailed drawings and, plans.

Te Oneroa which loosely translates to long walk by the beach, is the much anticipated extension of the well-used network of Gisborne cycle and walkways, says project manager Kylie Cranston. “There has been much interest in the siteing of the pathway and materials to be used. As a consequence we have had a lot of input into the proposed design from a team of specialists including a coastal scientist, ecologist, boardwalk engineer, landscape architects, and renowned local artist Derek Lardelli.”

Derek has contributed cultural elements to the overall design that tell the story of Waikanae. Waikanae is as an important area in the navigation and settlement traditions of Tairāwhiti. Elements of the design help portray our unique cultural heritage, such as a waka shape and the ancient adze named Waikanae. The boardwalk itself acknowledges our region’s seafaring traditions, representing the rope used to tie off waka and sailing vessels. Artistic use of timber patterning at beach-access points reflects rope lashing designs. In keeping with the navigations theme, the waka shaped seating areas have double patterning elements which serve to acknowledge our all our Ancestors who traversed the seas and made Turanga nui a Kiwa their home.

 “We want the public to have an opportunity to look at the designs before we apply for resource consent next month. We have listened to ideas from a number of sources and tried to incorporate much of it into the design where possible. Lots of comments on the initial design were gathered at last year’s A&P Show. Feedback from the show, along with ongoing input from the specialist team and relevant stakeholders, has informed changes to the plans.”

Te Oneroa has been designed to last at least 50 years accounting for sea level rises. A mix of concrete path and boardwalk is proposed and it will be completely accessible for wheelchairs prams and scooters. The 1km long walkway currently incorporates 400m of concrete and 600m of boardwalk.

“If we used all concrete, or any of the other options that have been considered, people wouldn’t enjoy such good views, says Ms Cranston. “Being metres away from the shoreline, but only being able to see the horizon, is very frustrating especially for the disabled community and visitors to the district. Sweeping views will help people connect the stories reflected in the pathway, to the expanse bay and Te Kuri a Paoa (Young Nicks Head).”

It is proposed that the boardwalk section will meander along the back of the dunes under the shade of the mature Norfolk Pines. The boardwalk will be raised 300mm above the ground to allow airflow around the timber and will follow the existing contours of the dune.

An assessment of the dunes has identified three areas that are in bad shape due to human and vehicle activity, so part of this project will include restoring the dunes in these areas. Formalised beach access ways will direct how people get onto the sand and discourage free foot traffic through the dunes. “Designated access through the dunes will give the sensitive dune binding plants a chance to thrive.”

There will be access to the beach in front of all eight of the Council reserves along this stretch of beach.

Council’s cycle and walkway projects are currently funded through the Financial Contribution Fund. This fund is collected through resource consent applications and can only be used for community projects on reserve land. This means this project is not funded through rates. The remaining funds are to be sought from the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) as well as community sponsorship and funding.

Construction is expected to commence early next year.