Eco-town move for Picton

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 10:45 11/07/2014

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Branding Picton an eco-town and gaining United Nations' Biosphere status to give the town international profile is one idea the Marlborough District Council has been encouraged to consider.

A briefing paper to councillors from an informal group of Picton people was to be distributed to councillors today by Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman.

The group got together to think of ways to boost the town, once they knew the interisland ferry terminal would remain.

The Government decided late last year to keep the ferries in Picton rather than move them to Clifford Bay, south of Seddon.

This month, KiwiRail put its Clifford Bay land on the market. Tenders on that are due later this month.

The briefing note has not been made public yet, but Sowman said it included:

Bring the Picton Museum and the National Whale Centre together so one building can be located at a place which best enables whaling to be developed as a major tourism theme for Picton. Consider the possibility of a Library/community hub as part of this project.

Advance the Link Pathway between Picton and Havelock, completing the Picton-Linkwater stage first but also ensuring it is connected to a path between Picton at Lagoon Rd and the lookout point where the Link Pathway begins.

Explore the possibility of removing kerbside parking on both sides of London Quay between the roundabout and entrance to the foreshore to encourage pedestrians and more street side cafe/dining with an unimpeded view of the waterfront.

Find a solution to the parking requirements for campervans as part of a wider review of parking in Picton.

Make sure that town signage decisions are made in conjunction with the imagery in "The Marlborough Story" once that is settled.

Explore the possibility of the Marlborough Sounds gaining United Nations Economic Social and Cultural Organisation Biosphere status to give the town international profile for the way it balances the demands of people and the natural environment.

Sowman said the group had met several times in the last few months to discuss the future direction for the town and the kind of projects and priorities that might benefit the town, and they had invited him and Picton councillors to join their discussions.

There had been many ideas tossed around since the ferry decision came through, Sowman said, and it was good to see this group get the ball rolling by putting up some specific ideas.

"They've come up with projects that would make a significant difference to the town's future and we want everyone to talk about these ideas to see whether or not there's widespread community agreement."

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The Think Tank says focus is needed on attracting more visitors to Picton and encouraging them to stay longer and to make Picton their base for exploring the rest of the region. More could be done to capitalise on the increase in cruise ship visitors due to visit in the immediate future and to ensure the million ferry passengers who use the ferries each year are diverted toward the Picton town centre.

- The Marlborough Express

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