Walkways policy

 

Preamble

The Inlet is a fragile ecological environment. It is also a community asset and the community has a right to enjoy it. It is not possible to walk or cycle around the Inlet safely by road. Walking around the Inlet shoreline is possible at low-mid tide, although walkers must take great care to avoid damage to fragile areas such as reed beds, salt marshes and stream mouths.

We support the idea of constructing a walkway encircling the Inlet, provided that the walkway does not endanger the Inlet or its flora and fauna. A balance needs to be found between access rights, user safety and maintaining Inlet health. We recognise that the Inlet is not a pristine environment but believe that people's enjoyment of the Inlet must nevertheless not be allowed to damage it any further. The design of the walkway must take into account the need to preserve the Inlet's amenity value and ensure its ecology is not further degraded.

 

Walkways Policy

 

The Guardians of Pauatahanui Inlet (GOPI) supports the ability of the public to access the Inlet because the Inlet is a community asset and people's enjoyment of it will increase their appreciation of the environment.

For these reasons GOPI supports the completion of a Walkway around the shores of the Inlet with the following two provisos.

  • Construction and maintenance of the Walkway does not impact negatively on the ecology of the Inlet or its terrestrial margin.
  • Every effort is made to ensure that people enjoying the Walkway can do so in safety.

Policy formulated March 2003, amended August 2009

 

 

Contact us

Please email your comments and questions about this policy or write to the Secretary, Guardians of Pauatahanui Inlet, PO Box 37034, Mana, Porirua 5247, New Zealand.

 

Read more about the walkways and the reasons for our policy below.

 

History of the walkway proposals

 

GOPI first became aware in 1993 that a proposal was to be made to Porirua City Council (PCC) to promote a walkway around the shores of the Inlet. PCC began a feasibility study in 1994 and in 1999-2000 included a Pauatahanui Inlet walkway within its ‘Strategic Walkway Proposal’. This study recognised that a walkway must not ‘diminish [the] high visual and ecological values of the Inlet’, that its construction would be difficult in some sections and that there would need to be ‘extensive consultation with all affected and interested parties’.

Consultations began soon after and a project plan to develop a circum-inlet walkway was put to PCC in September 2003 but was not included for funding in the council’s LTCCP for 2004-2014. Following this setback the project was championed by Plimmerton Rotary on the basis of proceeding by sequentially designing and completing short stages. This change of process led to the opening of the first new section, from Motukaraka Point to the Horikiri Stream bridge in 2005. The pathway – now known as Te Ara Piko, the Meandering Path – has since been extended eastwards and reached Pauatahanui village in mid-2014. Consultations on extending it from Motukaraka Point to join up with the Camborne Walkway are ongoing. Plimmerton Rotary remain committed to extending the walkway right around the Inlet. Read more on Plimmerton Rotary's website.

 

Existing walkways

 

There are currently four areas where it is possible to walk safely.

  • Camborne walkway (from Paremata Bridge to Grays Road)
  • SH 58 footpath from Paremata Bridge to Browns Bay
  • Motukaraka Point to Pauatahanui village
  • Roadside footpath through Pauatahanui village to SH 58 via the old bridge

 

It is also possible to use the Whitby walkway system and road footpaths to walk from Browns Bay to Pauatahanui Village.

We support the maintenance and upgrading, where necessary, of these walkways and footpaths.

 

 

Browns Bay to Pauatahanui village and Grays Road

 

We support in principle the provision of a safe walkway along SH 58 from Browns Bay to Pauatahanui Village and alongside Grays Rd on the condition that it has a minimal ecological impact and minimal impact on the natural character of the shoreline.

In particular, we have extreme reservations about any engineering solutions which may have to be applied. It would need to be demonstrated that such solutions had minimal ecological and natural character impact. However, we are open to the possibility that a creative solution may be found which does not have such impacts.

 

 

Particular concerns

 

1. The area of greatest concern is SH 58. This is the route for which there is most demand because it is near houses. This area is also the most problematic part of a potential walkway because the road is narrow, with very little space on either side. It is also the most unsafe part of the Inlet to walk or bike along.

We have considered whether the network of Whitby walkways could become an alternative route between Browns Bay and Pauatahanui village, but are aware that in practical terms this might not work. People walking a walkway around the Inlet will want to walk alongside the Inlet, not through suburban residential areas. An inland route would also add several kilometres to the route.

2. A walkway around the Inlet is likely to attract more traffic to roads around the Inlet. Local people are likely to drive to their preferred entry point and a walkway would also become a regional recreational attraction. We are concerned about this likely increase in traffic in fragile places. We suggest that should a walkway go ahead thought be given to controlled entry points or 'hubs' with provision for safe car parking and interpretation signage.

3. It is important that increased access to the Inlet results in increased appreciation and knowledge of this fragile environment. Provision of appropriate environmental education signage is essential.

4. Potential conflicts between walkers and cyclists must be anticipated and managed.

 

 

 

Last Updated: 14/12/2015 12:01am