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Shelly Beach Redesign Affords A Safe Space For All

The need to stop the erosion of greenspace and to create a safer place for all who visit are the dual motivations behind an upgrade of Picton’s popular Shelly Beach Reserve.

“Shelly Beach is much-loved by locals and visitors but its valuable green space, originally formed by man-made reclamation, was eroding away. It was important that action was taken to stop the loss and protect the remaining reserve,” said Marlborough Sounds Ward councillor Nadine Taylor.

“As a great space for families, with a safe swimming beach, there was also a pressing need to improve pedestrian safety in the area after a number of near misses between small children and vehicles,” she said.

“The Council wants to protect and enhance the area for everyone to be able to enjoy it safely. The area is also an important link to the Victoria Domain and we were keen to improve this access for users,” said Clr Taylor.

Picnic tables have been installed, log seating positioned and two new park benches are awaiting installation in prime locations on the grassed area in time for the summer holiday season. Concreting beyond the boat ramp area is also underway.

“The community response to the first design sent a clear message that the narrow access road was totally unacceptable. We have listened to these concerns and responded immediately and accordingly,” said Clr Taylor.

The Council has acknowledged that the changes to Shelly Beach could have been more proactively consulted on and communicated.

There will be more parking available at the completion of the Shelly Beach upgrade although it will not be in the same configuration as prior to the enhancement works.

“The new reconfiguration of parking spaces will provide a balance of more parking area overall, plus four roadway parks, as well as providing the necessary road safety improvements. ” said Clr Taylor.

The location of the public toilet, tucked under the hill, to the side of the lane has been one of the exacerbating factors leading to road safety concerns. “Something had to change – we needed to ensure the safety of everyone who visits Shelly Beach. The design that the Council has settled on, with feedback from the community, achieves this,” said Clr Taylor.

The additional parking created by the removal of the old Yacht Club and the storage building has freed up an additional 20 parks for public use and improved access through to Bob’s Bay.

Parking at the south end of Shelly Beach has also now been converted to angle parallel parking, providing for 12 parks where previously there were three. There are also 4 parks allowed for at the start of the access way to the reserve, for those who have traditionally liked to park and watch the activity in the harbour.

“The new footpath will improve access for the public and ensure pedestrians are now safely separated from the road,” said Clr Taylor. The Queen Charlotte Yacht Club is a hive of activity on regatta days so a 3-point turning circle has been included at the end of the access for regatta days for vehicles to turn around before they reach the busy Club space, she said.

The reserve is a narrow coastal strip on the eastern side of Picton Harbour and is home to the local rowing and yacht clubs.

It provides public access to a wide variety of recreational opportunities within the large adjacent parkland of Victoria Domain and plays host to numerous water-based national events and regular local activities and regattas.

Greater protection of the shoreline with rock work and intertidal zone trial plantings to help limit further erosion in an erosion-prone area has already been completed.

“The rock revetment works are integral to the protection of the reserve . Further work is programmed to visually soften the revetment by introducing smaller stones and sand to fill the rock works and by landscaping with low growing coastal native plants.” said Clr Taylor.

The recent redevelopment of the Queen Charlotte Yacht Club facilities opened up an area of the reserve and shoreline not available as public open space for the past seven or eight decades, enabling the rethink of the area.

The $345K project is being funded by the Council.

© Scoop Media

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