Picton can boom, say retailers

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 05:00 02/07/2014
Diversion Gallery
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ
‘‘FABULOUS FEEDBACK’’: Diversion Gallery director Barbara Speedy, in Picton’s High St, which she hopes would benefit from London Quay upgrading.

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Changes to improve Picton for tourists could be as simple as changing roads slightly, some retailers say.

Making London Quay one-way alongside the foreshore could work, but they ruled out shutting the road to vehicle traffic completely.

Diversion Gallery director Barbara Speedy said that although this connection between the town and the waterfront was valuable, removing the thoroughfare for cars could "kill things".

"We need to have people able to drive around the town, suss things out, see the cafe, art gallery, park and things."

Escape to Picton owner Juliearna Kavanagh said she would rather see London Quay and Wellington St become one-way by the foreshore as it would be bad for businesses there to shut it off.

Speedy said there had been "fabulous feedback" about the upgrade to London Quay, and hoped High St would also benefit.

Focusing on Picton's strong maritime history and making more of the Edwin Fox could help the town, she said.

"It was the capital of Marlborough once and we parochial people think it could be again."

Kavanagh said the proposals for Picton sounded good, and she was optimistic for the town.

"If everyone works on the same page, it will be great. It's tough at the moment. I hope Picton can get a break . . . Overall the direction is very exciting for Picton . . . any upgrading for Picton is wonderful."

Latitude 41 gift shop owner Jo Ferguson said she would like to see more growth.

About half her business was from people about to sail on the ferry. Business would benefit if Picton could get more people to stop as they disembarked from the ferries.

"Picton is a port town. We're very dependent on the ferries . . . We need to make better use of what we've got."

Seamus' Irish Bar publican Neal Summers said he bought into his business "with confidence" that the Clifford Bay project would not go through.

"I have been overjoyed with the articles I've read about the different projects going ahead and the money set aside or devoted to those projects."

Port Marlborough is redeveloping, and the National Whaling Centre has set up an office on the foreshore.

"It seems to me when the Marlborough District Council say they are going to do something, they follow up with it and have the money to do so."

But Second Time Around owner Keith Allen was more relaxed.

"Town is really good the way it is."

He would not want Picton to become more developed than it was, but it would be good to see a few more people re-directed into the town rather than passing by.

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Cortado assistant manager Rami Grover would like to see more local services for residents. Many people had to go to Blenheim to do their shopping and go to the gym because of the shortage of bigger stores and businesses.

"I'm from Auckland. If you can make Picton Auckland-sized, that would be good."

The town could do with more tourist attractions and more promotion, he said. When he got his job, he and his friends didn't know where Picton was.

The call for more tourist attractions was echoed by Charleigh Marshall and Libby Francis, at Le Cafe.

"When it's raining, there's bugger-all for people to do apart from sit in a cafe drinking coffee," Marshall said.

The playground was attractive for families, they said, but more was needed.

They agreed that keeping campervans from parking on London Quay would help.

"There's nothing more annoying than a campervan parking in that view."

- The Marlborough Express

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