Preparation begins on Ōpōtiki Harbour development

Published: Jun 29, 2020

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  • News and announcements
  • Bay of Plenty

The Ōpōtiki Harbour development project is off to a great start with survey work and quarry development beginning earlier this month. Mayor of Ōpōtiki, Lyn Riesterer says the progress made so far is symbolic of things to come.

Crowd mostly in orange high-vis gear gathering for karakia in a rural setting.

A crowd gathers at a site induction and karakia for contractors and staff working on the project.

"Twenty years of planning has brought us to this incredible milestone. We are ready to get shovels in the ground and get people into jobs," says Mayor Riesterer.

Central government support of $79.4 million from the NZ Upgrade programme was announced for the development in February, opening the region up to significant aquaculture initiatives – and the employment opportunities that come with them.

"The district has needed this for many years and with the effects of COVID-19 starting to impact our communities, this flow of money into our economy is essential. The future is now," says Mayor Riesterer.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has contracted HEB Construction Ltd. to complete the development’s early works, which include conducting surveys and gathering data to undertake the design work.

CEO Mr Derrick Adams says the project will offer employment opportunities for people in the Bay of Plenty region as it progresses.

"We are delighted to be involved in this project and to be working with iwi, community and agencies to help support the local marine industry and provide ongoing employment in the region," says Mr Adams.

HEB Construction Operations Manager Mr Simon Gard says that HEB’s Structures Division specialises in marine, port and wharf projects, and is likely to have personal links to the region.

"Many of us live in the Bay of Plenty region, so it’s a big project that’s close to home. A number of our employees from Ōpōtiki have already indicated their interest in returning to the region to work on the development, and we will be looking locally for new employees to join the team," says Mr Gard.

The work completed to far has included developing a quarry to supply rock for access roads and harbour walls, gaining archaeological authority, and gathering raw data for the project’s design.

"We’ve been gathering information to base the project’s design on. That involves undertaking bathometric surveys which measure the seabed, and topographic surveys that measure the elevation of assets such as sand dunes and vegetation and collect ocean wave and river flow data," says Mr Gard.

The project's next steps will include setting up a safe site location and access points for the physical works to build the seawalls.

"We always knew that this project was transformative for our community, but after the huge national and local changes following COVID-19, this project has taken on even more importance.

"These next few steps, the physical preparation works, trucks and fences, are a significant reminder for me of the changes we'll start feeling in the community," Mayor Riesterer said.