Mini-golf to add to the list of Esplanade attractions
WARWICK SMITH / Stuff
An artist’s impression of the Lions of the middle district project for a mini-golf course on the Esplanade.
Visitors to the Victoria Esplanade in Palmerston North will have another activity to enjoy when a mini golf course opens next year.
The Palmerston North Middle Districts Lions Club obtained resource consent to construct the 18-hole course near the playing field and parking lot, building on the hockey fields.
Roy Price, a member of the Lions club, said the mini-golf would be an attraction for families, where children, parents and grandparents could play together.
The first nine holes of the course would be designed to be fully accessible to people with disabilities and wheelchair users.
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The club first presented the idea to city council in 2017, and received approval in principle to go ahead and negotiate a lease of the 1,300 square meter land and agree to carry out the work.
The Lions would fundraise and manage the project and provide volunteer work to help build the course, which early estimates could cost more than $ 200,000.
Price said a lot of time and effort from volunteers and board staff has gone into fine-tuning the plans so far.
Concept designs had gone through several versions, with the goal of keeping trees healthy and transforming the initial entrance shed into a quality building with a ticket booth, kiosk and accessible washrooms.
The course would be large enough to accommodate up to 80 users at a time, a figure that Price thought was reasonable during peak hours, as more than 500,000 people per year visit the Esplanade.
The operation would likely last for hours similar to those of the Scenic Railway.
Price said it took a while to get to this point.
“It was a long process to come up with a final plan, but each version was an improvement.”
The detailed design had yet to be released, but Price said the overall theme would be Manawatū, with local streets and landmarks, and dual signage, including te reo.
Price said the course would be run by the older volunteers at the club, who were eager to provide service to the community.
The fee for a ride hadn’t been finalized, but the goal was to keep a family pass for two adults and two children at something like $ 20 per ride.
Green fees would help cover upkeep costs, and since Lions were a charity rather than a commercial operation, any remaining money would be reinvested in community activities.
Price said the club have yet to get consent to build the entrance kiosk, but if all goes well from now on, construction could begin in the spring, with a target for completion in early 2022.