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Funding Announced as Town Basin prepares for Visitor Influx

 
This page contains a news story about a Tourism Infrastructure Fund grant to improve access to the Town Basin area.
Updated: 15/01/2020 12:17 p.m.

​Whangārei’s Town Basin bus and visitor facilities are to receive a major upgrade thanks to $1,670,000 grant from the Government’s Tourism Infrastructure Fund (TIF).

Council is expecting a significant increase in visitors when cruise ships start visiting the District in December 2020, and want to be ready to accommodate visitors as they are transported around our District’s highlights.

Panorama photograph of the Hub centre at the Town Basin.

The Waterfront will become even more of a focus for visitors once the Hundertwasser Arts Centre is up and running, and Te Manawa The Hub is a key point from which other adventures, trips and tours can launch for visitors.

Infrastructure upgrades are necessary to make sure the area is up to scratch and has enough capacity for the influx of people, including increased capacity of the Town Basin bus station, public toilets, i-SITE, carparks, bus parking, and pedestrian spaces, along with more visitor information and wayfinding signs.

The TIF funding will enable key high-use visitor areas of the Waterfront to be upgraded. This will include expanding the existing Te Manawa The Hub bus stop area and altering or extending the rain and sun shelter.

Layouts of the two carparks either side of the main bus area will need to change to make room for more buses, and mobility parking.

Footpaths between the Hundertwasser site, bus stops, i-SITE Visitor Centre, and Hatea Loop walkway will be upgraded and widened. The public toilets at the i-SITE and on Lower Dent Street will be upgraded to cater to more people.

New pedestrian crossings will be installed at Reyburn House Lane and Lower Dent Street for bus passengers and visitors using the Lower Dent Street carpark to cross safely and additional wayfinding signs will be installed around the Waterfront and on main visitor routes from the state highway to the Waterfront.

The i-SITE visitor information area will be re-arranged to create more space for large visitor numbers and interactive webmaps will be developed to provide easily accessible information about the District such as parking locations, public toilets, drinking water fountains, campervan dump sites, waste and recycling.

This will all be part of an overall management plan to ensure that tour bus operators and visitors know where to go, what to see, and where to get off and on their correct buses on cruise ship days. 

A separate project to upgrade the popular Town Basin Playground is expected to start construction in March 2020. The inclusive design is based around a theme of Tide and Time and will incorporate sensory play, with the tall climbing equipment being retained. It will also become a safer space with separation between the playground and carparks.

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