A revised option which aims to improve overall visitor experiences while protecting the integrity of the volcanic cone is being proposed as part of the Maungawhau-Mt Eden management plan.
The revised option includes a café operation and visitor information centre located in a refurbished heritage tea kiosk building (known as Langtons), a high quality loop track using existing routes from Langtons to the summit, improvements to the summit area and prohibition of heavy vehicles to the summit.
Implementation of the 2007 management plan to date has mainly focused on investigating options for a visitor centre on the site, with the previously preferred option being a purpose built visitor centre in Tahaki Reserve West which fed into a lightweight electric vehicle to transport visitors to the summit.
In light of regional uncertainty around governance and treaty issues, as well as the high cost of implementing this option, the new proposal is seen as a better alternative.
The Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee supports in principle the proposed café and visitor centre in the Langtons building, however they have asked officers to investigate a public-private partnership for the development that reduces cost to council of the refurbishment of the existing building.
The Committee has also asked officers to look at alternatives to the heavy vehicles currently using the summit road such as shuttle buses from the tea kiosk that can be provided on a user-pays basis.
Chairperson of the Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee, Councillor Greg Moyle, says the council recognises the need to preserve the mountain’s special features and manage demands from competing user groups.
“The proposed option is both affordable and practical – it will improve the overall visitor experience and help to protect this cultural and geological treasure for future generations to enjoy,” says Mr Moyle.