IT’S onwards and upwards with exciting enhancements to the Bluff township, its community board chairman says.
A plan to revitalise Bluff in the next 20 years had been described as the town’s community vision.
Bluff Community Board chairman Raymond Fife said it was important
“The community have brought forward some very good ideas that we’ve taken on board.
“That’s what makes the community better, is ideas on how we can grow the town and how we can improve our facilities and attractions for tourists as well.”
Stirling Point, with its signpost, was a tourist hotspot but there were other Bluff features which missed out on visitor attention.
It was the goal to get tourists to want to stay for a night or two to experience all the town’s attractions, he said.
However, while it was “all well and good” looking at timelines for projects, it came down to funding. This would be one of the next steps, he said.
“But there is stuff we can improve on that is already in place.”
Facilitated by Great South, the draft Bluff Motupohue Tourism Master Plan was a joint initiative between Great South, Invercargill City Council and Te Runaka o Awarua.
It was presented to Invercargill city councillors during a performance, policy and partnership committee meeting on Tuesday.
The document detailed the importance of Bluff and its potential to be a vibrant hub for the local community first and foremost, as well as for its visitors.
It identified 11 hubs or precincts in the region to be explored; Bluff Gateway 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.
It also included a potential public event space.
Great South chairman Ian Collier said Bluff was strategically important as a tourist destination with significant potential.
“The ultimate is to transform Bluff into a more attractive place to live, work, play, visit and invest in.
“We want to see Bluff considered the starting point for New Zealand, not the end.”
Awarua Runaka kaiwhakahaere and Bluff resident Dean Whaanga said he was excited the plan had reached this stage.
“This is very exciting for the local community. The plan will play a crucial role in informing a co-ordinated approach to Bluff’s future.”
He was pleased Kaupapa Maori was taking centre stage in the plan, with a significant pouwhenua (carved wooden post) atop Motupohue Bluff Hill among the proposals.
The Ocean Beach precinct would be an important part of the project as its owners wanted to create New Zealand’s foremost land-based aquaculture park, the plan states.
They wanted to establish “world-class hatcheries for both finfish and shellfish” and also a retail area showcasing Southland arts, crafts and produce in the area.
“There will be an obvious focus on seafood,” the plan states.
The often-photographed Bluff entrance sign could also be relocated to create a stronger point of entry.
Improvements for Stirling Point were also proposed.
It suggests a and Rideservice from the Bluff Central Tourism Precinct car park to Stirling Point to help reduce parking congestion, improve safety and create better walking trail links for local users.
Mr Fife said this had merit, but needed more thought.
Among a range of projects to “revamp” the town were the upgrade and expansion of coastal walking tracks, the completion of the Bluff to Invercargill cycle trail/Te Araroa trail, development of the Bluff Southern Marine Discovery Centre and the construction of a potential public ocean pool.