The Eastern Bays Shared Path is a key project in providing a safe and integrated network for commuting and recreational purposes under the current Walk and Cycle the Hutt 2014-2019 strategy.
The project aim is to develop a safe and integrated walking and cycling facility on Marine Drive to connect communities along Hutt City’s Eastern Bays. It also aims to provide links to other parts of the network (current and future) for recreation and tourism purposes - in particular, the Remutaka Cycle Trail, the Great Harbour Way (Te Aranui o Pōneke) and Te Ara Tupua – Ngā Ūranga ki Pito-One shared path.
Currently there is low pedestrian and cyclist use because there are no dedicated cycling and walking facilities, and the tightly constrained nature of Marine Drive. For the most part, cyclists and pedestrians must use the road shoulder which is very narrow and non-existent in sections.
The Shared Path will also include replacement seawalls for improved protection from storm events. Construction of the path will enhance the environment where possible and will provide a base for future resilience work on the road and underground services.
What it looks like
We've created simulated views of the key areas along the proposed the Eastern Bay shared path.
The Project is forecast to cost approximately $30 million, with the funding comprising of:
- $15 million from the Government, from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund;
- approximately $7.5 million from Waka Kotahi (the New Zealand Transport Agency); and
- approximately $7.5 million from HCC.
In August 2020 the Government announced the investment of $15m of co-funding from the COVID Response and Recovery Fund towards the Eastern Bays Shared Path.
You can read more about this in the article 'Lower Hutt welcomes Government’s $15 million investment towards Eastern Bays Shared Path'.
Where we're at
The resource consent application was lodged in April 2019
The resource consent application is available on the Greater Wellington Regional Council website. This includes plans and technical reports and responses to requests for further information (under s92 of the RMA).
The application has been lodged with both Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and Hutt City Council, with GWRC leading the process.
The application was notified in November 2019 by GWRC to allow people to lodge submissions in support, opposition or to indicate a neutral position. A total of 200 submissions were received with an overwhelming number in support of the shared path proposal (14 requesting that the Project be declined).
Those that were opposed were mainly around the consistency with planning policies and the management of penguins. Further discussions are continuing to work through those concerns. HCC has always been committed to finding suitable ways of protecting penguins (and other shorebirds, including oystercatchers) during the construction of the shared path, and identifying safe protection areas for nesting sites and habitats along the Eastern Bays coast.
A summary of submissions has been published on the Greater Wellington Regional Council website.
The hearing has been scheduled as follows:
15, 16 and 17 December 2020
Lower Hutt Events Centre,
9am – 4:30pm
The submission of evidence and timelines have been published on the Greater Wellington Regional Council website. Copies of the evidence is also available on the website.
At the Hearing
While the hearing is a semi-judicial process, it will be conducted as informally as possible, consistent with the procedures specified in the RMA. All parties will have a fair and reasonable opportunity to present their submissions.
A useful guide to the conduct of hearings can be found on the Ministry for the Environment website.
A timetable will be provided closer to the hearing (please refer to the Greater Wellington Regional Council website).
The hearing will be held under either Level 1 or 2. If at Level 2, small gatherings such as hearings involving small numbers of people would still be permissible, subject to appropriate distancing and hygiene procedures being followed. Further details on how the Hearing will be held to meet Alert Level requirements will be issued as required.
For any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact Nick Pearson, email@example.com, 04 830 4345.
- Decision - Likely to be early February 2021 assuming there are no appeals.
- Construction - potentially towards the middle of 2021 (depends on when a decision is made through the approval process). We're currently expecting that works will be staged over a number of years. This is likely to be a bay at a time, starting with Windy Point.
How the community benefits
The Eastern Bays Shared Path will improve safety, create thriving business areas, reduce congestion and vehicle operating costs, increase recreation and tourism opportunities and positively benefit the health and wellbeing of the community.
It 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, and 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 and the proposed extension of the Remutaka Cycle Trail.
The Shared Path will also include replacement seawalls for improved protection from storm events, and will provide a base for future resilience work on the road and underground services
(including regionally significant infrastructure being the road itself, the main sewer outfall pipe for the Hutt and the telecommunication network) contained within the Marine Drive road corridor. Approximately 5,000 people live along the Eastern Bays, with Marine Drive providing the only road and infrastructure service connection. It will provide the first step in enabling the Marine Drive road corridor to respond to the challenges of sea level rise.
While the Project will provide significant benefits by creating a safe and connected walking and cycling route along the Eastern Bays. This enhanced connectivity will result in social, cultural, economic (including a significant COVID-19 funding commitment from the Government) and recreational benefits, including recreation and tourism opportunities; and positive benefits to health and wellbeing. Improved safety will also encourage the uptake of active modes of transport, reducing congestion and CO2 emissions and most importantly providing sustainable travel choices.
The Project has raised the public awareness of the plight of little penguins and oystercatchers. It presents the opportunity to educate the public on these birds (in Eastbourne and the wider Wellington Harbour) through designated protection areas, signage and storyboards that will be part of the detailed design stage of the Project. It also enables, through protection areas and seawall texturing to provide habitat for shorebirds and penguins to utilise in the face of sea level rise.
There are also other opportunities to showcase the cultural, historic and ecological elements of the area through storyboards, and to highlight how the Project responds to these elements through design features (such as by creating textured concrete surfaces to establish biota habitat). Provisions for active and meaningful partnership with mana whenua is proposed along with opportunities for mana whenua to exercise kaitiakitanga.
Community and stakeholder engagement
- 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 open days, during 2016 and 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.
- We're continuing to engage with the Community Board representatives on the progress of the project.
- A Mana Whenua Steering Group (MWSG) will be set up and representatives of Taranaki Whānui and Ngāti Toa Rangatira will be invited to form the MWSG. As the Project moves forward into the detailed design and construction phase, iwi mana whenua will become formal Project partners through a mutually agreed governance forum.
- There is a clear commitment by HCC to maintain the high levels of engagement and community involvement through the detailed design process to ensure a high-quality outcome that satisfies the community’s requirements. Conditions have been developed that involved further consultation with community groups and other stakeholders.
Find out about the environmental assessments relating to this work including information on penguins, resilience, climate change and sea level rise scenarios.
Find out more
To find out more contact Simon Cager, Senior Project Engineer:
T: 04 570 6666