What’s this project about?
The Eastern Bays Shared Path is a key project in providing a safe and integrated network for commuting and recreational purposes under the current strategy, Walk and Cycle the Hutt 2014 – 2019.
The aim of the project is to develop a safe and integrated walking and cycling facility along Marine Drive to connect communities along Hutt City’s Eastern Bays, and to provide links to other parts of the network, both current and future, for recreation and tourism purposes (the Remutaka Cycle Trail in particular, as well as the Great Harbour Way (Te Aranui o Pōneke).)
A lack of dedicated cycling and walking facilities and the tightly constrained nature of Marine Drive has meant that there is currently low pedestrians and cyclist use. For the most part, cyclists and pedestrians must use the road shoulder, which is very narrow and even non-existent in sections.
The Shared Path proposal also:
- Includes replacement seawalls to provide improved protection from storm events for Marine Drive and other infrastructure contained within the Marine Drive road corridor.
- Seeks to manage and mitigate any environmental effects and to enhance the environment where possible.
- Provides a basis for future opportunities for protecting the resilience of the road and underground services by upgrading the supporting seawalls.
How the community benefits from the Shared Path
The Project will provide a safe and connected walking and cycling route along Marine Drive, providing enhanced connections:
- Within the individual bays (for recreation and access)
- Between different bays (to shops, schools, recreation)
- To and from Lower Hutt and beyond (to work, school or for recreation)
- To other regional cycle routes, including the Great Harbour Way/Te Aranui o Pōneke walking/cycling route (Leg 3 Burdan’s Gate to Seaview) and the proposed extension of the Remutaka Cycle Trail (one of the New Zealand Great Rides) from the mouth of the Orongorongo River to Burdan’s Gate.
Proposed Shared Path between Point Howard and Eastbourne
This enhanced connectivity will result in significant social, economic and recreational benefits, including:
- Improved safety for pedestrians, cyclists and other road users
- Thriving business areas
- Reduced congestion and vehicle operating costs
- Recreation and tourism opportunities
- Increased active choices
- Positive benefits to the health and wellbeing of the community.
Where are we at?
Resource Consent Application
Applications for resource consent have been lodged with both Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and Hutt City Council. GWRC will lead the decision-making process and will confirm key dates in due course.
Throughout the consideration of options, and the subsequent design process, the approach has been to avoid potential adverse effects, or where avoidance is not possible, to remedy or mitigate actual or potential adverse effects associated both with the construction stage and the operation of the Project. The design has gone through a series of iterations that were considered against the parameters of the natural environment (such as coastal processes, ecologically sensitive areas – intertidal and subtidal areas), to achieve an optimum design. This will be further developed during the detailed design stage once consents have been granted.
A copy of the application, including plans and technical reports, is available online. Hard copies will also be placed in the Council offices and War Memorial and Eastbourne libraries.
- Details of the project will be available online and in libraries (dates TBC) to give the community time to work through all the information relating to the project.
- Application to be notified by GWRC to allow people to lodge submissions in support and/or opposition, or to indicate a neutral position (dates TBC but likely to be in June).
- Pre-hearing meetings may be held to clarify or facilitate resolution of any matters (dates TBC).
- A hearing may be held (depending on the submissions received, dates TBC).
- Decision (depending on whether a hearing is held).
- Construction will hopefully commence towards the end of 2019 (depending on when a decision is made).
Funding and Commencement
The Project features highly in the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) 2018-21 priority list for projects in the Wellington Region. The Project will be largely funded by Hutt City Council which has allocated $14.2 million in its Long Term Plan 2018-2028 for the Project, staged over the next five years. We will also be continuing to work with NZTA to ensure subsidy funding is secured for the construction stage.
Depending on the approval process, the first stage of the construction could start towards the end of 2019 at the earliest. The current expectation is that works would be staged over a number of years (likely to be a bay at a time).
- A survey in 2014 showed that residents list the completion of the Eastern Bays Shared Path, and concern about climate change as the two most important issues facing the Eastbourne community.
- Community engagement started early in the project during 2015.
- We held a series of meetings, including an open day, during 2017 to engage with the community and get their feedback on the options.
- In 2018 we developed the investigation and design further, using technical information alongside community feedback to create a final design.
A series of environmental assessments have been undertaken to assess what effects the proposed shared path has on the environment. These assessments looked at ecology, vegetation, avifauna, coastal processes, landscape and visual amenities, urban design and recreational amenities.
The project also seeks to manage and mitigate any environmental effects and to enhance the environment where possible. This includes measures to mitigate effects to the coastal edge (for birds, plants and ocean life) as well as for recreational impacts (for example by including areas of beach nourishment to respond to loss of valued beach space in key locations).
In October 2017, Conservation Dog Handler Alastair Judkins and his Penguin Detection Dog Mena conducted a little blue penguin survey along the eastern bays of the Wellington harbour. This was completed in collaboration with the Lower Hutt City Council and the Eastern Bays Penguin Group.
The results of the penguin survey.
The Shared Path provides a basis for future opportunities for protecting the resilience of the road and underground services by upgrading the supporting seawalls. Marine Drive provides the only road access to the Eastern Bay suburbs and is therefore a key transport route for the region. Key infrastructure services, including the main outfall sewer pipeline, are located within the road corridor. These services are regionally significant infrastructure, and along with the road access are important lifeline utilities for the wider community.
The proposal includes replacement seawalls to provide improved protection from storm events for Marine Drive and other infrastructure contained within the Marine Drive road corridor. The replacement seawalls will reduce overtopping and debris on the road and develop a consistent seawall design that can be added to in the future. The Shared Path will sit on top of the new seawall.
In addition to increased connectivity, the Project will provide the first step in enabling the Marine Drive road corridor to respond to the challenges of sea level rise. The road is currently vulnerable to closure, and/or reduced operation, during heavy storms resulting in wave overtopping. The existing seawall in places is vulnerable to failure and does not provide effective storm mitigation. Over time sea levels will rise, aggravating the situation. MfE (2017) projections forecast a 16cm sea level rise by between 2030 and 2040 (depending on global emissions trajectories). Further sea level rise will increase the frequency of all coastal inundation along the Eastern Bays.
The Project recognises the series of ongoing processes of managing coastal values in the face of climate change, and sea level rise and the related pressures faced by Greater Wellington Regional Council and HCC. However, the Project is not a complete solution to the effects of sea level rise, and instead provides the first step in potentially incremental upgrades that would assist in providing protection to the road (and underground services) from the effects of sea level rise along this section of the coast. As an adaptation model, the seawalls do not preclude future options and have been designed to enable additional protection to be added in the future.
Find out more
The resource consent application and supporting technical reports are now available for viewing. Hard copies will also be placed at War Memorial Library and Eastbourne Library for you to read.
Want to know more? Take a look at our FAQs.
Simon Cager Senior Project Engineer
T: 04 570 6666