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The concept plan includes improvements to the Beach Road boat ramp, including raising and widening the first 30 metres of the ramp, improvements to the Esplanade coastal reserve, MacMillan Reserve and 294 Beach Road. Changes also include the installation of cultural and heritage features, more green space for new picnic areas, toilet upgrades, increased parking and dedicated parking for boat trailers.

Don Wallis, commodore of the Katikati Boating Club, said they supported several initiatives but did not agree with the idea of ​​the top of the cliff being planted rather than removed to control erosion.

Erosion has always been a problem in the area due to wave energy, Wallis said, and planted trees will eventually fall into the water.

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The eroding cliff in the area of ​​the Katikati Beach Road boat ramp.
The eroding cliff in the area of ​​the Katikati Beach Road boat ramp.

“When we built the ramp, the cliff was at least seven metres further out. Planting on the cliff doesn’t work.”

They called in a geomorphologist who warned them that erosion would continue, he said.

“In the next 80 years, depending on the rate of erosion, the cliff will no longer be there. By flattening the land towards the water, we can create a beach and stop the erosion.”

Wallis describes the modernisation as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to get it right and hopes the council will reconsider this part of the plan.

Senior recreation planner Jason Crummer said the development of a sandy beach was supported by 11 other submitters who agreed with the boat club’s rationale. It would increase the recreational value of Katikati as it lacks a beach, facilitate the launching and retrieval of small watercraft and keep some users away from the Tanners Point boat ramp.

However, Crummer said that the development of a sandy beach is not currently included in the conceptual design as it involves “a high risk for the project implementation”.

Mr Crummer listed the following risks: “To achieve this, significant financial expenditure is expected, the requirement and uncertainty associated with obtaining a use permit, additional annual beach maintenance funded by the fees, possible restrictions (temporary or permanent) on local hapū access to Tutaetaka Island and possible requirements from the Archaeological Authority.”

This idea also does not reflect the broader aspirations or priorities of the majority of submitters, he said.

Conceptual plan for the Beach Road boat ramp and its surroundings

Western Bay of Plenty District councillors approved the final plan following citizen consultations earlier this year that received 127 suggestions.

Of those who shared their opinion, 73% supported the plan.

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Although support was given for the construction of a playground, it was not included in the planning because of the possibility that another playground could be built in Moore Park.

The total cost of the upgrade is $867,514 and is expected to be split 50% by the council, 25% by financial contributions from the developers and 25% by external donors.

It is proposed that part of 294 Beach Road, owned by the local council, be parcelled out and possibly sold to fund the upgrade works.

The funding and timing for implementation of the Conceptual Plan will be considered in future Council planning processes, including the 2025/26 Annual Plan.