Pretty seaside reserve no place for car park, says resident

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 05:00 07/06/2014

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One of New Plymouth's prettiest picnic spots is wasted on a car park, says a woman with a vision to transform it.

Suellen Roy appealed to councillors at New Plymouth District Council's annual plan hearing this week to banish cars from Buller St Reserve.

"I use the reserve on a daily basis. When I walk through and see cars parked I get irritated.

"I think it's a travesty."

Roy said vehicles should have no place in what was one of the prettiest coastal city reserves in Taranaki.

She said the playground attracted families and the tree-lined bay was more sheltered than the rest of the walkway, inviting people to linger.

Replacing the car park with grass, providing more seating and picnic tables, upgrading the grass terraces and fencing off the railway would transform the area to a family-friendly reserve, she said.

Opponents of her idea said the area was a nice place to park and enjoy the view, but a visit to the car park often revealed most cars were empty - left there by users of the walkway.

In her submission to the council's annual plan this week, Roy noted the area, Arakaitai Reserve, holds significance to local Maori as a landing area for waka.

She said East End pavilion was enjoyed by locals in the late 1800s as a tranquil place to congregate. The area deserved to have its own identity, she said.

"The history of the Te Henui is just fascinating. There must be ways we can evoke more of that."

The popularity of coffee kiosk Paris Plage showed that people wanted to be able to enjoy a relaxing seaside environment with their families.

"There's just so much potential with a little bit of vision."

Roy realises no action can be taken until the review of the Coastal Reserves Management Plan in 2016, but she wants to keep people talking about it.

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