Te Pūwaha, the Whanganui Port revitalisation project continues to progress, with consent for a priority dredging area lodged this week by Whanganui District Council and the Whanganui Port Operating Company.
The application requests consent to dredge the areas immediately around the three main wharves, and the proposed vessel lifting infrastructure to allow access for vessels to the port. In addition, it will include dredging for the Wharf Street public boat ramp and a new area to the south of the ramp where a diving and bombing platform is proposed.
Port Operating Company director Declan Millin is pleased to see the consent lodged.
“The consent application is a milestone for this project, particularly as we prepare for construction tenders to be released in the New Year,” he says.
“Our project team, alongside Te Mata Pūau, have been flat out preparing this consent which will not only ensure continued vessel access to the Port and new hardstand site, but will also create a safe swimming space for our rangatahi.”
A component of the dredging consent application will be to seek consent to remove sediment from an area to the south of the existing public boat ramp, where a bombing and swimming platform is proposed to be developed in late 2023. Te Pūwaha will be connecting to kura to hear rangatahi feedback about the platform, providing opportunities for engagement on design and purpose.
The idea of encouraging kura to swim, bomb and dive away from the dangers of the public boat ramp and the development at the Port was discussed at the recent iwi and hapū port walkthrough.
“There was certainly a murmur of excitement about the plans, our rangatahi are looking for safe spaces to swim and enjoy our awa so to potentially be able to offer that is fantastic,” says Te Pūwaha project director Hayden Turoa.
The intention is that the final design for the platform will be created locally, utilising recycled materials from the Port wharves, with an opportunity for UCOL to support the building of the structure.
The lodging of consent is only one step in what has been an ongoing process.
“While the lodging of the consent is technically necessary, engagement with hapū and the community over the dredging has been underway for some time under the Te Awa Tupua framework,” says Hayden Turoa.
“And this process will continue to be applied to ensure that the particulars of dredging are guided in real time in line with the abundance mind set of Te Pūwaha”.
Whanganui Port project manager Phil Wardale is pleased to see the consent lodged before the Christmas break.
“This will ensure the company holds the relevant consents to allow vessel access to the heavy pavement hardstand where Q-West’s mobile boat hoist will operate from, along with continued access to the port and public boat ramp,” he says.
“This application will be known as the Stage 1 dredging area with the expectation that it will be processed promptly by Horizons early in the New Year. This will allow the project and the public confidence that a consent is held for the important dredging activity at the Port, which is an activity included in the regional One Plan.”
The consent will be sought for a period of two years, with the expectation that dredging would occur when required during and after the completion of the upgraded infrastructure including the wharves.
The sediment will likely be dredged using what is known as a cutter suction dredge where the material is vacuumed up via a pump and then discharged out down a pipe where it can re-join the flow of the awa, downstream of Wharf One.
At this time a decision has not been made as to whether the Port will acquire a purpose built machine or will procure a contractor with suitable equipment to complete the work. Procurement for the dredging solution is expected to get underway in the second quarter of 2023, while in the interim the Port’s own barge will undertake all dredging works.
It is expected the Stage 1 dredging consent will be approved in the first half of 2023, in time for the arrival of Q-West’s mobile boat hoist with 380 tonne lift capacity.
For project updates, please visit www.whanganui.govt.nz/port or facebook.com/TePuwaha.