Wharf upgrades at Paihia, Russell and Opua
The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will provide much-needed investment in three Northland wharves, boosting the tourism sector and creating new jobs and opportunities to the region, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says.
The Government will work alongside Far North Holdings Ltd – the commercial arm of the Far North District Council – on developing business cases for significant upgrades at Paihia, Russell and Opua and ensuring due diligence is met.
Subject to those business cases, the PGF will invest up to $5 million in the three projects.
“Tourism is an important and developing sector in Northland but some existing facilities are ageing and unsuitable, inhibiting future growth,” Shane Jones said.
“These projects are also about training local people and giving them the skills they need to help build the future of Northland. The tender process for these upgrades will require firms to take on apprentices who can then enjoy careers in the construction industry going forward.
“These three projects, which are long overdue, will boost the productivity potential of Northland, help grow the tourism sector, diversify the local economy, create new jobs and help build more resilient communities.
“Far North Holdings Ltd has numerous proposals on its books and I’m pleased the Government has been able to work closely with the council to deliver for Northland.
“A 120 metre floating pontoon will be built for the Tuia – First Encounters 250 voyaging event in 2019 at Opua Wharf. Tuia - First Encounters 250, is a project within the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan. The pontoon will be used for future events and will help extend the super yacht industry outside of Auckland.
“Building the pontoon will be a catalyst for ongoing economic benefits, including supporting events such as Bay of Islands Sailing Week and the Millenium Cup.
“Developing Opua’s facilities will bring more high-value tourists to the region leading to additional income and jobs to the local economy.
“Paihia Wharf is a major gateway and maritime hub in the Bay of Islands and is considered a critical piece of infrastructure in the Far North, with tourist cruises, charters, and the passenger ferry to Russel operating from the wharf.
“The facility is currently struggling to handle the number of visitors and tourism operators, which is hampering future growth and many components of the wharf are nearing the end of their life.
“The upgrade includes building an additional four berths for vessels, increased space for passengers and improved passenger facilities.
“Russel Wharf is Russell’s primary connection to the rest of New Zealand and is therefore a vital piece of community and tourism infrastructure.
“About 850,000 passengers use the wharf to access ferry services every year and Russell is one of the visitor highlights in the Bay of Islands but current facilities are ageing and unsuitable.
“The upgrade will replace the original timber piles and others with floating concrete pontoons while a wharf extension will create more visitor space for an increasing number of users and help to build capacity for the future.
“Officials will continue to work closely with Far North Holdings Ltd as further businesses cases are developed and these important projects progress,” Shane Jones said.