Bluff proposals gain support

Growing optimism in the aquaculture industry has spurred a group of investors to pump money into rejuvenating the neglected former Ocean Beach Freezing Works site in Bluff. Photo: ODT file

THE development of a Southern Marine Discovery Centre and an active recreation precinct at Bluff are among the projects which residents would like to see come to fruition.

Great South consulted the public on its Bluff Tourism Master Plan which provided concepts for the future development of Bluff, an area described as having strong potential as a vibrant tourism hub for the region.

Forty-four submissions were received and a report with its findings will be presented to Invercargill city councillors during a performance, policy and partnership committee meeting today.

The plan identified 11 hubs or precincts in the region to be developed entrance hub, Ocean Beach aquaculture precinct, heritage landscape precinct, community recreation precinct, active recreation precinct, Bluff central tourism precinct, commercial precinct, Stirling Point precinct, Bluff Hill Motupohue lookout hub, South Port hub and wider Bluff area.

The report, from council’s strategy and policy manager Rhiannon Suiter, says the active recreation precinct and the Bluff Hill Motupohue lookout hub had “overwhelming support”.

The first project would create an area for people who wanted to explore Bluff’s outdoor environment with a focus on mountain biking, running and walking.

The second was a proposal to create a hub on the top of Bluff Hill with expanded parking and a cluster of activities, including a stargazing experience and a pouwhenua (carved post) stern post.

“This hub also acknowledges that Bluff is the starting point for any journey north through New Zealand and as such the symbolic positioning of a pouwhenua at the summit will strengthen and recognise the important spiritual connection of mana whenua (tribal connections) to the land.”

Following the consultation, Bluff’s community board considered feedback and its own priorities which were the completion of projects already committed Bluff cycleway, the development of a Southern Marine Discovery Centre, the expansion of the Gunpit Rd car park and the creation of the active recreation precinct.

The community board also acknowledged the relocation of the “Bluff” entrance sign, proposed on the plan, could be excluded from any immediate plan.

About 46% of submissions were received from Invercargill residents, 39% from Bluff residents and 16% from people in the wider Southland-Otago region. There were two international submissions.