Whitianga town centre upgrade concept plans out to view 30 December 2015 Display boards are now up around the Whitianga town centre showing concept designs of the Town Centre upgrade project. Over the next four years we have $3.14m in our Long Term Plan budget towards upgrading the town centre."The design will have a "navigation theme" based on the links between Kupe and Captain Cook, and the upgrade will include the Esplanade and the linkages, particularly Taylors Mistake, between it and the Albert Street shops to develop a more integrated Town Centre," says Mercury Bay Community Board Chairman Paul Kelly."We also want to ensure the majority of work is completed by 2019 to tie in with the 250 year commemorations since Captain Cook landed at Mercury Bay," says Mr Kelly.Mercury Bay was one of the four landing sites for Cook's ship The Endeavour - and significant - as it was the first positive interaction between Captain Cook, his crew and Maori (local iwi Ngati Hei).The Town Centre upgrade concept designs were developed by Boffa Miskell for Albert Street and Thresher Urban Design and Landscape Architecture for the other two areas of focus. For the Esplanade area between the Whitianga Wharf and the Town Centre A two-stage approach is being taken. Some of the design proposals include:• In the first stage moving boat/trailer overflow parking north, closer to the wharf. The children's playground moved further south, closer to Taylors Mistake and the main town centre and a planted "dune" play-scape area with larger play and climbing equipment developed. All this work would be staged over the next few years.• A continuous and wide footpath formed on the western side of the Esplanade, while on the eastern side closer to the ferry wharf parking would change from perpendicular to parallel and a drop-off/waiting area is created.• Spherical sculptures would be located as visual markers or way-finders, and act as a pivot and visual connection with In this location the width of the road would be kept narrow to minimise the interruption between the two open spaces.• The second stage will ultimately see the trailer boat parking removed and the open space, playground and play scape concepts developed through toward the wharf area. This will be when alternative boat launching and trailer boat parking has been provided. Taylor's Mistake. Some of the proposals include:• A generous, wide path connecting Albert Street with The Esplanade along the northern edge, lined with shade trees.• Adjacent to the town square a transitional area, incorporating a series of dune-shaped forms, approximately 1m high would be built allowing for views to still be seen.• Spacious green areas with seating and opportunities for picnicing, events and "hanging out".• An informal play area to complement the playgrounds on The Esplanade which could incorporate larger scale play and climbing elements.• The creek edge would be re-vegetated and paths across Taylors Mistake which terminate with tall "sentinel" trees marking a place to interact with the creek. Albert Street Town Square. Some of the proposals here include:• Linear elements connecting Albert Street with the green space and pathway using trees, celestial/navigational spheres and linking to the creek.• Spherical shapes and flexible features to represent astronomical and celestial shapes, along with navigational aids, to direct movement or views. These spherical forms may also be incorporated into seats, play features or lights and plantings.• Possibly a large metal sphere sculpture to provide a visual marker or focus and providing a similar navigational function as the smaller spheres. Need more information? If you want to see more detail on the proposed concepts for the Town upgrade go to www.tcdc.govt.nz/whiticentreupgrade and www.tcdc.govt.nz/mb250 for more detail on the Mercury Bay 250 Cook commemorations.If you have any comments or queries on the Town upgrade contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07 868 0200. Whitianga Wharf survey. Over summer we're also conducting surveys/online questionnaires around the Whitianga wharf. This is to get a better understanding of who is using the wharf and boat ramp facilities, where they come from and to measure how regularly it's being used. The information will also help inform decisions for the future development of wharf and boat ramp facilities within Whitianga and the wider Mercury Bay.