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Study into Waitohi Picton tourism opportunities complete

A hot-pool style aquatic facility, a heritage/environment centre and a mountain bike park have been hot topics of conversation in Waitohi Picton following a preliminary feasibility study conducted by consultants Visitor Solutions Limited (VSL).

VSL was tasked with the research project centred on three proposals submitted to the Council’s 2020-2021 Annual Plan process: a heritage/environment centre proposed by Picton Smart+Connected, a downhill mountain bike park concept from TrailPro and an aquatic facility suggested by the Picton Waitohi Pools and Wellness Centre Charitable Trust. The study aimed to look at the potential of the projects including costs, impacts and possible economic benefits for the town.

Council’s Planning, Finance and Community Committee meeting was recently presented with VSL’s final report on the Waitohi Picton tourism opportunities.

Deputy Mayor and Sounds Ward Councillor Nadine Taylor said the report provides Council and potential commercial investors with an insight into the potential positive economic and community benefits these proposals could bring to Waitohi Picton post Covid-19.

“This preliminary feasibility study has assessed the merits of three potential tourism development opportunities. It has also assessed, at a high level, their potential to increase tourism expenditure and provide an economic boost to Picton,” Clr Taylor said

“We know that improving economic benefit, attracting visitors to stay, and environmental and sustainability initiatives are all highly important to those who live and work in Picton, and to those who took part in the study,” she said.

“We also recognise the relationship with mana whenua Te Ātiawa Ki Te Tau Ihu Trust and their priority on enduring net restorative environmental outcomes as a priority,” she said.

The study findings show that depending on the concept selected, all three opportunities have merit and could appeal to visitors, however, none in isolation are likely to dramatically lift visitor nights in Picton.

The study shows the hot pool/spa experience and the Edwin Fox Centric concept are the stronger economic and visitor attraction opportunities, if well executed, however, all in part or combination have the ability to contribute to making Picton a more desirable destination and increasing length of stay.

The study also suggests that there is a need to test community appetite for any public investment and financial contribution and that all options will require detailed feasibility studies to refine the concept, determine site, finalise costs and confirm viability.

Clr Taylor said as the study explains, there is further investigatory work to be done.

“As such, the three proposals will now be added to the broader strategic planning work for the town,” she said.

“The terms of reference for this broader review can now be developed. The review had been on hold due to the ferry redevelopment project, so that we could understand the ramifications of that project on the wider community and our public spaces. Now that the ferry redevelopment project negotiations are complete there is an opportunity to restart the Waitohi Picton Development Study.”

To read the full report visit: https://bit.ly/3Hr7yGg

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