The government has announced it will contribute funding for a new freedom camping facility for Whanganui and for public toilets in Jerusalem and on Anzac Parade.
The infrastructure will cost approximately $240,000, half of which will be provided by the Whanganui District Council, with the other half co-funded by the Tourism Infrastructure Fund. Work is scheduled to be completed during the first half of next year.
Jerusalem has long needed a public toilet, often with more than 100 cars parked there each day. The area continues to grow as a tourist destination and there have been many requests for a public toilet.
The enhancements that will occur along Anzac Parade between the Dublin Street Bridge and Railway Bridge will include the provision for toilets and a campervan dumping station, which will be connected to the Council’s wastewater system.
The project was led by Rene Olmos from Whanganui & Partners, in collaboration with the Whanganui District Council and River Road. Mr Olmos says “Due to the rapidly growing tourism sector in Whanganui, there was a serious need for new public tourism infrastructure, which will encourage and support tourism growth and visitor expectations.”
Whanganui’s tourism sector is worth $128 million per year and visitor expenditure grew by 12% between July 2016 and June 2017 (6 percent higher than the New Zealand average). “The River Road area has seen a lot of this growth due to its natural beauty. The stress from incremental tourism growth is about to have a step-change at Jerusalem/Hiruhārama as the process in the canonisation of Mother Aubert progresses. Mother Aubert is likely to become New Zealand’s first saint. It is important that our public infrastructure keeps up with this growth,” says Mr Olmos.
Earlier this year, 68% of residents said the Whanganui District required more public toilets. The new facilities will benefit both residents and visitors through protection of the local environment and improved comfort for guests.