|In 2007 Venture Taranaki Trust and Port Taranaki jointly launched a vision for the redevelopment of the eastern harbour area of Port Taranaki including a multi purpose commercial and recreational marina development.
The $29 million two-stage project – incorporating 114 berths of various sizes, a slipway, travel lift, fuelling jetty and port service vessel facilities – is dependent on the port’s future redevelopment plans.
New Plymouth is currently the only coastal New Zealand city of its size without a marina facility, but has the advantage of not having a bar which vessels have to negotiate. With a construction timeline spanning several years, the development will require dredging, the building of a fixed breakwater and two floating breakwaters, reclamation of land and the provision of more than 100 new car parks.
A recently-released independently commissioned economic impact assessment has found that the facility is expected to conservatively add $13.8 million to regional GDP and provide 158 new full-time jobs in its first year of establishment, with an ongoing contribution to GDP of close to $5m and 70 FTEs annually.
The facility will encourage the growth of the boat building, refitting and refurbishment industry, and has the potential to double the fishing industry's capability within five years.
Many of the businesses already located at the Port were consulted for the economic impact study, which was undertaken by Business and Economic Research Ltd (BERL). These businesses include Fitzroy Yachts, Egmont Seafoods, the Fishing and Underwater Club, New Plymouth Yacht Club, CPG, keel yacht and fishing boat owners, tourism and retail operators.
It was envisaged the recreational marina element of the development will be open to the public between dawn and dusk, and will provide an ideal start or finish point for coastal walkway users. The proposed expansion would also provide further opportunities for retail and hospitality outlets – creating what has been described as cappuccino corner - and would be an area that the public can use and enjoy.
The improved resource could also support and encourage the tourism and events sector, bringing events such as the Trans-Tasman New Plymouth to Mooloolaba yacht race to the Taranaki region on a more regular basis, and allowing visitors to stay in their vessels during events such as WOMAD or the ITU World Cup Triathlon.
Since the proposed development’s vision was launched in late May, expressions of support have flowed from the public, those involved in the marine, tourism, retail and trade industries, as well as private boat-owners who want to berth their vessels closer to home.
Venture Taranaki engaged Tauranga-based public policy specialists McKinlay Douglas Ltd (MDL) to gauge public support for the proposed redevelopment based on identifying the expected intangible or "public good" benefits, including perceptions of the value of those benefits for the community.
Throughout, the emphasis has been on the Eastern Harbour redevelopment as a comprehensive approach designed to meet the needs of a number of different users (including the port itself, the fishing industry, the yacht building and servicing industry, recreational boat owners, other marine related recreational groups and retail and marine servicing businesses) within an overarching objective of enhancing public access to and use of the Lee Breakwater area and the land and water based facilities within it.
The focus groups and survey were completed in August 2007, and results were very positive.
Results from the second, survey part of the process will be released shortly.
Public feedback on the vision is always being sought.
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