Village Planning implementation – 18 months later

Those people with longer memories in Diamond Harbour will know that in the aftermath of the earthquakes and the demolition of Godley House, the Stoddart Point Regeneration Ideas Group (SPRIG) organised a community brainstorming event to develop ideas for Diamond Harbour village and community development. These ideas were put together into a 2013 Action Plan called ‘Getting to the Point’.

It took another three years of lobbying before the Council supported the community with a planning process. After further rounds of consultation, the Diamond Harbour Community Association (DHCA) with the assistance of Council planners and landscape architect produced an updated Community Action Plan in February 2017. This was followed by the Village Development Concept Plan in June 2017.

Over a year later what do we have to show for it? Here is the progress on the nine action plan projects.

1. Godley House site redevelopment
Because of concern about the future of the Dark Star lease and the status of the land, the Council’s Recreation Planning Manager has now committed to a review of the future of the Godley House site. This will require community consultation and I will advise people, when this is starting.

2. Business development and collaboration
A key element of this is the formation of a DH Business Association. This is happening and expect to hear more about what community initiatives they wish to take. Anna Mahy is the key contact person for this.

3. Roads and paths
The DHCA submitted unsuccessfully for a funding commitment in the Council Long-Term Plan for traffic calming and footpaths at the lower Waipapa Avenue junction. Paths have been more successful, and you will have seen the tracks now developed between the Godley House site, the domain and the playing field. We had hoped that this would be done with volunteer effort, but complexities with consents meant it became a Council contract. We are expecting to see the paths finished off with planting, lighting and some seats.

4. Wharf and ferry
This was also submitted on in the Long-Term Plan with more success. There is a Council commitment to upgrade the wharf in 2020-21 to make it more accessible and safer. It took some advocacy to get the Lyttleton wharf facilities reinstated. A shuttle service for the ferry is still being discussed, but the No 28 express is back in action.

5. Stoddart Point Reserve Management Plan implementation
This is being led by the DH Reserve Management Committee. The most tangible recent results have been weeding working bees on Stoddart Point and the improvements at the cemetery. The coastal track has seen some Council upgrading at the Church Bay and Purau ends, with volunteer effort forming the path around Blacks Point. There are ongoing discussions with the Council about the ineffective maintenance programme for the coastal track.

6. Children and youth facilities
There has not been much change here, though the school has recently completed a bike track and there is renewed interest in after-school and youth programmes.

7. Public amenities e.g. toilets
The domain toilet soakage field continues to leak across the coastal track. However, it is down the list of priorities for Council toilet upgrades. The toilet under the community hall is to be better signposted. The toilet on the beach had its roof realigned by a falling pine tree and is still waiting a fix. Pressure on the Council got the fallen tree mostly removed in time for beach summer usage. The DHCA and DH Business Association are discussing short and medium term improvements to the look of the village areas under the macrocarpa tree and opposite Preserved.

8. Arts, culture and events
The DHCA supported the refurbishment of Stoddart Cottage and it is a great arts and crafts venue. The Community Hall has been upgraded and we are fund-raising for a fit-out of the Committee Room. The DHCA is also backing Live at the Point 2019, which will run this summer.

9. Information and signage
The Council has renewed traffic signage in the Village Centre and will be signposting the Hall public toilet. The DHCA paid for a new public noticeboard to be placed next to the Preserved and is working with the Council on a large orientation sign to be placed in the wharf carpark. The DHCA worked with the Rod Donald Banks Peninsula Trust to produce the Diamond Harbour walks brochure.

If you would like to assist with moving any of these projects forward, please contact DHCA Committee members, or the other groups who are leading them.

Richard Suggate
DHCA Chair
027 687 6242