Oriental Bay's two new swimming rafts have had an incredible baptism in one of our best summers ever. They were launched last November by Mayor Celia Wade-Brown in the best way possible when she actually braved chilly Spring waters and swam out to one.
But the waters in the harbour thissummer have often been calm andinviting and swimmers have madethe best use of the rafts. They are moored some 50 metres from shore, between the fountain and Freyberg Beach. They replace the original ones donated by the Ilott family in 1985 — a connection recounted at the launch by Jane Aim, Oriental Bay Residents Association's life member.
Colin Blair, president of Oriental Bay Residents' Association, which initiated the rafts, paid tribute at the launch to Noel and Joanna Todd for their generous donation and also acknowledged the donation of Pub Charity, represented by Marcina Malcolm. He noted that members of the Oriental Bay Residents Association were all donors, as the association had contributed financially as well.
The Wellington City Council owns and maintains the rafts while the Wellington Regional Council (represented at the launch by John Tattersell) are responsible for mooring the rafts over summer and storage in winter. Colin Blair gave a special welcome at the launch to Mark Pulepule and the members of the Maranui Surf Lifesaving Club who provided a patrol on the beach for the event and during summer weekends.
Given the enthusiastic use of the rafts (especially when ten or so youngsters stand on one edge to see if it capsizes! It doesn't!) OBRA committee members are pleased they chose the expensive raft option rather than the cheaper aluminium raft.
Altogether a highly successful initiative that will give lots of pleasure for many years to come!
JCD, Bay View newsletter 65, May 2015