Resource consent for Te Rahui Herenga Waka
NEW ZEALAND: The Environmental Protection Authority Te Mana Rauhi Taiao (EPA) has granted resource consent for the development of a boat harbour in Keepa Road in Whakatane.John Rae, chair of Te Rahui Herenga Waka Whakat?ne 2021 Limited Partnership, welcomed the news: “The project team has worked closely with stakeholders on this project including our project partners to develop a project that will address the lack of maritime infrastructure in the town and provide opportunity for the region through the maritime and tourism industries, whilst delivering the project with a very sound environmental proposition,” he says.
Sustainability considerations have been top-of-mind from the beginning, notes Te Rahui Lands Trust chairman Brian Simpson. He explains this includes both human and environmental aspects of sustainability. “The boat harbour will start to restore both the mauri of the river, and the wellbeing of our people through employment and training opportunities, for future generations,” he believes.
“We are excited about what this means for the future of the region,” adds Mayor of Whakatane, Judy Turner. “The idea of a fit for purpose sustainable facility for berthing vessels has been considered for some time because it enables the region to be home to a commercial marine hub that will create long term job opportunities in the maritime and tourism sectors, and provide critical infrastructure that many marine businesses in the town require to support their ongoing businesses in Whakatane.”
“Construction and operation of the boat harbour will need locals to get involved with it, as the project is going to need people to operate the boats, to fix boats, to work in the boatyard, on the docks, in the marine training centre, to make and supply ice, to help run the fuel station, and to work in any food and beverage businesses that open up. We anticipate it will lead to hundreds of associated jobs in the coming years.”
Boat harbour project director, Phil Wardale, says the region was supported by the fast track consenting process which provided certainty of timing. “We thank all submitters who answered the call from the EPA to provide their views on the project,” he says. “Many contributed their knowledge of the area, which has helped us to refine the project design to ensure it will perform to a very high level, particularly in relation to environmental matters regarding local water quality and ecology.”
The consent is issued with a robust package of over 100 consent conditions. Subject to construction timelines, the first boats could move in early in 2025.