The battle to win over the hearts and minds of Tauranga residents concerned at a proposed boardwalk at Pilot Bay made progress with an information session held at the beach.
Tauranga City Council held the session yesterday after a protest against the proposal was announced to take place on Sunday.
Mayor Stuart Crosby was part of a strong presence of Tauranga city councillors who spoke with residents. Plans, displays and examples of the lengths of wood considered for the project were met with mixed response from interested residents.
There has been outcry at the boardwalk project after it was announced it would cost up to $500,000 and span up to 3m wide along the length of Pilot Bay.
However, a group of three generations of Pilot Bay residents were strong supporters.
At the session yesterday, Heather Hennaford, son Simon Cotter and 4-year-old granddaughter Trelise Cotter said they were excited at the project.
Ms Hennaford said she walked across the grass of Pilot Bay most mornings for a swim and the ground had become "mangled" over the years.
Mr Cotter said Pilot Bay looked tired and dirty.
"In areas it's nice and grassy but the walking tracks are a mess.
"When the boardwalk goes through, they can form it so it ties in with the rest of Downtown the Mount, it would polish it off.
"It just looks sharp."
Mount Maunganui resident Shane Kennedy said project opponents were basing their decision on emotion and not considering others unable to enjoy the beach without a boardwalk.
Mr Kennedy's wife Nicki is in a wheelchair, and was also at the session. "But it's not just Nicki. It's about elderly rolling their ankles, it's about future elderly wanting to enjoy the area, people with disabilities," he said.
"It makes sense and when things make sense you do it.
"But people are a little bit selfish sometimes. People don't think about others like those who may be disabled and that's unfair."
Fellow Mount Maunganui resident Marie Cox said the boardwalk was too big for Pilot Bay.
"I like the one they have on the other side. It's wonderful because it's wide. This here is too narrow to have a 3m boardwalk. We aren't building it for buses to go down there are we?"
Pilot bay based businessman Nevan Lancaster also opposed the boardwalk.
He said the boardwalk would ruin the area, which was popular with young families.