There were naysayers right from the start – but the completed tidal stairs are a roaring success.
Even as winter approaches, kids have been making the most of the redesigned waterfront, braving the chilly waters for a holiday swim (or bomb).
Last weekend's Jazz Festival attracted thousands to The Strand, many of whom wandered across the train tracks to check out the steps.
Victoria Goldsbro has been following the waterfront development since work on the tidal stairs began, and brought her family in specifically to check them out.
“We live in Papamoa, but we quite often come to The Strand as a destination. In the last few years they've really done it up. They do this kind of thing really well in Australia, so it feels like we're catching up with them in that regard.”
Based on the reactions of other people, she thinks the stairs will be great drawcard for the city.
“There were heaps of kids jumping off the pier, and all the people talking around us were really positive about it.”
Having a bomb competition. Photo: Ben Haarmann.
Tauranga City Council parks and recreation manager Mark Smith says the public reception to the tidal stairs has so far been overwhelmingly positive.
“You only have to go down to The Strand at lunchtime on a sunny day to see how many people already love the space. Every day you can see families paddling, workers in the CBD having lunch, and teenagers jumping off the bombing platform. It's fantastic.”
He says the reaction on social media has been especially significant, with people arranging via the council's Facebook page to go down and jump off the bombing platform, and posting photos of their waterfront experiences.
“Planning is underway for an opening event and ceremony on the waterfront, at 12pm on Saturday, May 6, in collaboration with Paradox Street Art Festival,” he adds.
“The event is free, and attendees will be able to enjoy an autumnal dip at the new tidal stairs, join in Tauranga's first Official Bomb Competition off the new pier, warm up with street food, listen to live music, and watch dragon boating.”
People can register for the bomb competition here.
Photo: Tauranga City Council.