Boost for water sports in yacht club revamp plan

KATIE CHAPMAN
Last updated 05:00 21/03/2014
marina
NOVAK + MIDDLETON

GLASS AND WATER: An impression of a planned Ocean Sports Centre in the Chaffers Marina, linking with existing boat sheds.

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A purpose-built Ocean Sports Centre is part of a $5.5 million development plan for Wellington's Chaffers Marina.

The Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club and Wellington City Council yesterday signed an agreement to work together on a revamp of the marina, which will make it more open to the public.

The main aspects include increasing the number of berths, improving public spaces and the promenade, and building an Ocean Sports Centre next to the Freyberg Pool.

Yacht club chief executive Dean Stanley said budgets for the projects were still being worked out, but the club would be approaching the council next week for $95,000 to help fund the resource consent process.

The marina upgrade would expand the capacity from about 70 to 115 boats and would cost about $3m, he said.

The funding could involve either a council or private loan, which the extra lease fees would pay off.

The promenade would include new decking and seating areas, and would cost about $1m, which the club would probably ask the council to fund because it was council-owned public space.

The Ocean Sports Centre would cost about $1.5m and would be a base for multiple sports such as sailing, kayaking, waka and paddle-boarding.

There were also plans to join forces with secondary and tertiary institutes to create education programmes out of the centre, Stanley said.

The club would probably apply for a lotteries grant for the centre. Funding details would be confirmed in the next year.

Work could begin in 2016 and would take about a year, he said.

Improving the marina would enable Wellington to host more sailing events, such as world championships and ocean race stopovers. "Getting the infrastructure in place, and then it's about leveraging off that."

Wellington harbour acted as a natural stadium and would be perfect for events like the America's Cup - though he admitted that was "probably a pipe dream".

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown signed the memorandum of understanding yesterday. Funding was not covered in the document, and any council contribution would be subject to budget debates.

The plan would help open up the marina to the public, she said. "Not enough people know that they can just mosey on down and walk along here.

"These designs are going to make it much more obvious that this is public, open, welcoming space . . . It's very important that we make the waterfront open and accessible to people." Stanley said a final stage would be earthquake-strengthening the yacht club. The club was also assessing applications for a new eatery in the building after the closure of Martin Bosley's restaurant last month.

A decision should be made in the next couple of weeks, he said.

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- The Dominion Post

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