The release of a plan for Napier's waterfront reserve, including an attraction that would be a New Zealand-first, has mayor Barbara Arnott pretty excited.
She said the effective gagging of the council while the fate of the defunct Marineland Centre was finally decided in the High Court had been frustrating.
Now the council's plans, made public yesterday, could be opened up for public comment.
The main theme would be water, Mrs Arnott said.
Plans include a state-of-the- art water-skiing and wake- boarding attraction on the Marineland site, depending on public feedback and finding a private company to fund and run it.
A first for New Zealand would be a "wave garden" to the left of Ocean Spa, that would produce "waves big enough to surf on".
The plan covered the area from the national aquarium "pretty much to the port", Mrs Arnott said.
A new water feature would be added to the city side of the aquarium, "a place to sit beside and relax", shallow enough for kids to splash in. Next to that, there would be a "miniature city", complete with streets and stop and go lights, for cycling youngsters to use.
"A place where they can learn to ride their bikes, and the road rules, safely."
The extended playground, already under construction, came next, then, potentially, the cable ski water feature sited where the closed Marineland building is.
Skiers attached to a cable "can enjoy the thrills and spills of the water without a jet boat".
A BMX "jump park" will be adjoined to Sk8 Zone.
Continuing to head north, a pier out over the sand, which has already been approved for funding by the council, will be built next year, the mayor said.
Past the Tom Parker fountain and Ocean Spa would be the wave garden.
The "two high-flyers", the wave garden and cable ski, would need to be funded by private enterprise and the public would be charged for using them, Mrs Arnott said.
But the council would ensure that no high fences surrounded them, so the open theme along the parade was preserved.
All the attractions except those two would be "free for families and kids".
The Napier City Council is expecting public feedback on its proposals.
Drury to help pull in cash
Private funders will be needed to investors to help fund the family entertainment.
Tourism Services manager Neil Fergus said the council could not pay for a wave garden and cable-ski park on its own because each would cost "millions".
But if it could secure funding, the Marine Pde's Big Picture could rival some of the best entertainment areas in the country, he said.
Hawke's Bay businessman Rod Drury, one of the drivers behind the proposal, said the wave garden and cable ski were big ideas that required a visionary approach.
"Together we can make Napier the premier place to visit and play. Let's reclaim Hawke's Bay as the kids' capital, where the young build a lifetime relationship with the Bay," he said.
Mr Fergus hoped Mr Drury's involvement would encourage other entrepreneurs to invest.
The council had already approved part of the plan, including a playground extension, junior bike track, stormwater pier and a recreation and water area suitable for picnicking. The council had put just under $2 million towards these projects.
The next project needing the green light was a BMX jump park, which would be an extension of Sk8 Zone. The final and biggest projects would be the cable ski and wave garden, which would go ahead only if sufficient capital was raised.
The closed Marineland site could become part of the cable-ski park, Mr Fergus said. One option was leaving the grandstand intact so parents could watch their children on the lake.
The proposal has not, however, won over Friends of Marineland, who have fought to get the tourist attraction reopened.
The group lost a High Court case this year after seeking to review the council's decision to close the facility.
Spokesman Cliff Church described the council's current proposals as "cheap thrills to keep tourism stuttering along".
- © Fairfax NZ News