Click to expand and view the full concept plan. Latest update: The Department of Conservation (DOC) held a hearing on 14 May for submitters to present their views on the proposed concession sought by our Council to construct a boardwalk along The Esplanade section only. DOC received the application and submissions and will consider the proposal against the Conservation Act to determine if the proposal meets the intent of the Act in terms of facilitating recreation, has ecological benefits and is supported by tāngata whenua treaty partners. DOC have indicated a decision will not be available for at least two months following the hearing, so staff are estimating a decision will be available around early August. Detailed design has been completed for the boardwalk section, however delays in availability of building materials, as well as contractor resource, could mean further delays to the project could be experienced. The proposed plan: To progress with a boardwalk along The Esplanade only. The dunes section of the proposed boardwalk and eventual connection to Hunt Road (to form a connection with the town centre) is to be delayed while further details are worked through with iwi and The Department of Conservation (DOC). To undertake a small 10m trail section of boardwalk at the southern end of the existing boardwalk by the surf club (Beach Access 10) to test a new lightweight construction that will reduce the need for pile excavations and be able to be relocated if needed. “We would like to thank our community for their feedback on this project over the past few months, which we have taken into consideration,” says Whangamatā Board Chair Ken Coulam. "The Board are acutely aware of the pressure our community is under due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the feedback we've decided to progress with the shorter Esplanade section of the boardwalk extension only this financial year." Overall feedback for the proposed boardwalk extension was positive with 60 per cent supporting the proposal which can be viewed here. “There were a lot of really good suggestions from the community during consultation, which we have taken on board,” says our Project Manager Ross Ashby. “We’re keen to keep the community informed around the next steps, which includes detailed design of the Esplanade section." We'll be seeking feedback on a planned trial of a 10m section of light weight boardwalk at Beach Access 10 to see how it performs and whether it meets the project objectives. Read more below. We also heard a lot from our communities around potential environmental impacts and have draft ecological and archaeological reports on the proposed that can be viewed on our website here. An updated coastal report is due this week for staff to review. "Throughout the project we have been working with iwi will continue this relationship," says Mr Ashby."There are opportunities for iwi to tell their stories and include cultural references and values where possible." The land the proposed dune section of boardwalk is located on is a Marginal Strip administered by DOC on behalf of the Crown. No construction will occur until discussions with iwi have been completed and a formal application has been made to, and approved by DOC. Trial boardwalk design We're trialling a new way to construct a coastal boardwalk at the beach accessway in front of Williamson Park, Whangamatā (next to the Surf Club). The new design aims to reduce the need for excavations and will sit at the surface to maintain natural dune form. It also allows for sections to be built off-site reducing some of the costs and construction disturbance while providing the ability to shift sections should these need to be re-positioned. We'd took feedback on the three-month trial (which you can download on the top right-hand side of this page), to see how it performed and whether it met the project objectives,and to inform future decisions for the boardwalk. Overall project plan: (above) The latest project plan will delay the dunes section of the proposed boardwalk and eventual connection to Hunt Road (to form a connection with the town centre), while further details are worked through with iwi and The Department of Conservation (DOC). Key principles the project will meet: Safe and Connected Allowing for safe, legible and universal access along the coastal edge for all users. Character Build on the existing sense of place and strengthen the cultural and coastal associations through design elements and interpretative signage and wayfinding. Access Provide improved access to and from the beach for all users. The design of the boardwalk will adhere to principles of universal design, be usable by all including the vulnerable, to the greatest extent possible without the need for specialised design. Design considerations include ample width, gentle gradients and smooth transition of surfaces. Protect and Enhance Provide formalised beach access to reduce the degradation of the coastal ecology and dune systems. Enhance the dune resilience through new planting. Amenity Enhance the overall amenity of the area through upgraded facilities, seating, planting, and shade provision. Consultation so far: Snapshot from the Coromandel Blueprint. The boardwalk project has been a priority for the Whangamata community since 2011, as part of our Council's district-wide consultation process, which resulted in the Coromandel Blueprint. This Blueprint was endorsed by local communities (as they had driven the direction) and adopted by Community Boards and our Council. Key moves identified by the Whangamata community under this plan included improved cycle and walkway linkages around the harbour, as a means of improving liveability and connectivity for residents and visitors. The Blueprint document went on to inform the review of our planning rules via the District Plan, (under the Resource Management Act). The Whangamata Community Board proposed a budget for the boardwalk project as part of the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan (LTP). This was endorsed by our Council. All councils consult every three years as part of the Long Term planning process. (See below for further information). The “2018 Long Term Plan Consultation Document” highlighted “Major projects happening in the Whangamata area” on page 25 and 26 and included Whangamata Beach Boardwalk Extensions. A handout was made available to community groups and at Council Offices for the public which featured “Proposed Projects in the Whangamata Community Board Area”. There was also an advertisement in the Coastal News which directed people to find out more on Easter Sunday at the Whangamata Market or to visit our website (tcdc.govt.nz/ltp). We also held a public meeting on Saturday, 17 March 2018 from 3pm to 5pm at the Whangamata Memorial Hall. Advertising and promotion of our 2018-2028 Long Term Plan and opportunities to speak with staff ran on all major radio stations, and in all district-wide and local newspapers leading up to and during the consultation. A rates demand insert was delivered to over 17,000 ratepayers’ homes, with an email attachment included for another 1,000 or so. Billboards promoting the Long Term Plan consultation period were erected on major transport routes around the district. Promoted online advertisements for the Long Term Plan were targeted to Thames-Coromandel based users through Metservice, Google, Facebook and NZ Herald. Following support and submissions on the project through the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan, we begun a targeted consultation on the proposed route alignment in December 2020 with advertising on Council’s website, email newsletters, Our Coromandel magazine 2019-2020, Mayor Sandra’s More FM radio slot, Coastal News advert, and social media. Letters were sent on 20 December 2019 to all adjoining property owners from the Whangamata Surf Club through to Hunt Road. Public feedback was provided from 30 December- 9 February with a a public drop-in session (27 January 2020). We received 410 formal submissions from the consultation, which was held over the peak summer period. Approximately 60 per cent of submissions supported the proposed boardwalk concept and 40 per cent did not support it. You can view the submission pack here. If you have any specific questions please feel free to contact the Project Manager Ross Ashby on 027 510 9079 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org View the presentation from the drop-in session and concept plans, read the frequently asked questions on the top roght-hand side of this page, or at our Whangamata Service Centre, 620 Port Road. We understand there are Whangamata ratepayers who are absentee property owners, so please subscribe to our email newsletters if you feel you’re not getting updates: tcdc.govt.nz/subscribe.