Friday, 16 November 2018

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Questions and answers about the Whitianga Marina’s new seawall

Dave Munday, manager of the Whitianga Marina, is excited about the new seawall the Whitianga Marina Society is planning to build. He was happy to sit down for a Q & A session with us.

The Informer (TI): Is there a need for a new seawall at the Whitianga Marina?

Dave Munday (DM): Our existing seawall is busy failing. A new wall isn’t a nice to have, it’s an absolute necessity. The Whitianga Marina is also at capacity. We have space within our permitted footprint to build a wall somewhat deeper into the Whitianga River. There are no downsides to our new wall. It will be durable and aesthetically pleasing and we’ll be able to create 28 extra, significantly larger berths that will allow much bigger boats to berth with us. Silting-up of the marina will also be reduced. At the moment we have to dredge the marina every year. Once the wall is built, we expect that we’ll have to dredge only once in every three years.

TI: What will happen to the tailings that you dredge out of the marina?

DM: I’m glad you ask that question. The tailings will continued to be dumped out in the ocean at a permitted dump site towards Cuvier Island and Great Barrier Island.

TI: What will the new seawall look like?

DM: The wall will be 260m long, with a wide walkway on top. Interlocking blocks will be used in the construction of the wall. That’s new and very impressive technology. Stingray and flounder motives, designed by Ngati Hei, will be embedded into the blocks. The wall will be lit up from the river side at night. There will also be pontoons at the outside of the wall for kayakers, jet ski riders and the likes to tie up to. That’s a really necessary safety feature. The wall will pay tribute to the Mercury Bay area’s explorer history with Kupe and Captain Cook monuments/public art pieces being placed at the entrance to the marina - at the Whitianga Wharf end of the wall and directly opposite on the Northern Reclamation. Ngati Hei are designing those art pieces.

TI: How will people be able to access the wall?

DM: This is another important question. At the moment the only way people can get onto the existing wall to fish is to walk through the marina hardstand, which creates all kinds of health and safety issues. People will be able to get onto the new wall by way of a road that will be built at the river side of the hard stand. There will be rubbish bins along the walkway and it hopefully will be an environment everyone, not just a few anglers, can enjoy.

TI: How much will the wall cost?

DM: We’re looking at a total cost in the vicinity of $10 million. We’ll fund the wall through the sale of the new marina berths. The wall has been designed by Bellingham Marine, the world leaders in the construction of seawalls. We expect that many local contractors will be used in the construction of the wall, which, we hope, will be a welcome injection into the local economy.

TI: What will happen to the existing wall?

DM: The rocks that are making up the existing wall will be stored and recycled in future Thames Coromandel District Council projects.

TI: When do you expect to start construction of the wall?

DM: We hope to apply for resource consent in the not too distant future. All going well, construction will start in late winter/early spring this year. We need to be finished in time for the Tuia Encounters 250 commemorations late in 2019.

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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.