Caroline Bay restaurant is still on the menu

RHONDA MARKBY
Last updated 05:00 02/03/2012
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It is time for councillors to decide if there should be a restaurant in Caroline Bay, and if so should the council run it.

Establishing a restaurant in the bay would be a complex, time consuming and potentially expensive process, council parks and recreation manager Bill Steans comments in his report to Tuesday's community development meeting.

"The idea of establishing a restaurant or cafe near the sea stirs a romantic affinity with the ocean in some people and this is the attraction, along with a great setting and wonderful views."

Mr Steans warns if a permanent restaurant is to be set up, the process becomes complex, as the likely location – close to the boardwalk – would be in the coastal hazard zone, with restrictions being imposed by both the regional coastal plan and the district plan.

Locating it close to Marine Parade wasn't recommended as it was likely the port operation would impact on the dining experience.

Mr Steans acknowledges Caroline Bay has become a far more attractive place since the area was redeveloped and any restaurant would need to be integrated into the landscape. Also up for discussion will be the form or style any restaurant should take – from a casual or mobile facility, through to a family restaurant or fine dining. The level of council involvement needs to be decided, with the options ranging from doing nothing to providing and running the facility itself.

Mr Steans warns not everyone will agree with a restaurant on the bay.

"The reason for investing in the project should be carefully considered also. It may be simply to facilitate the establishment of a business, it may be to enhance the vibrancy of the bay, have control over the development, or it may be to gain a return on investment.

"In any case, it is important to be clear in the vision or goal for council's investment and involvement in a restaurant at Caroline Bay."

If the restaurant idea is to progress, further investigations will be required, costing between $50,000 and $150,000, Mr Steans expected. The proposal would also need to be included in the Long Term Plan.

Do you want to see a restaurant near the Caroline Bay boardwalk? Vote at the top of the story or on The Timaru Herald Facebook page.

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- The Timaru Herald

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