A major public protest is looming over council plans to build a 3m wide boardwalk along the full length of Pilot Bay.
The prospect of a protest rally follows anger at the council calling tenders for the construction of the $500,000 walkway.
A deputation of concerned residents met Mayor Stuart Crosby yesterday asking for the project to be put on hold until concerns about the size, location and impact of the boardwalk on one of the Bay's most popular beauty spots had been met.
Fred Greenville, of the Mount Maunganui Progressive Association, wants the council to look at the idea of the eroded northern end of Pilot Bay being replenished by sand dredged from the harbour's shipping channels - effectively doubling the width available for picnics.
Unless there was a major change in attitude towards the boardwalk, he predicted that the rally on the 17th would "blow the council away" and become an election issue.
The group also included some councillors, the Papamoa Progressive Association and the Pilot Bay coastal care group. Councillor Murray Guy warned there could be a legal challenge if yesterday's meeting did not result in a meaningful delay.
Mount Progressive Association chairman David Burnett was not totally opposed to the boardwalk. "We want the plans to be revised in a way that protects the area."
The protest campaign will include organisers talking to cruise ship passengers and locals on March 17, asking them what it was they liked about Pilot Bay.
Mr Burnett feared that the boardwalk would change the whole ambience of the area and make it less attractive to families.
Papamoa Progressive chairman Steve Morris said the boardwalk would overwhelm Pilot Bay.
Mr Crosby said after the meeting that he had given a commitment to consider the 10 points made by the group and he planned to meet staff to discuss the matter today.
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