Backlash over plans for breakwater

Plans for a 245m breakwater at Tauranga Bridge Marina have met opposition by Port of Tauranga.
The marina applied late last year to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council for resource consent to build the rock breakwater, which would stretch around the northern edge of the marina.
Submissions against the application have been lodged by Port of Tauranga, as well as New Zealand Transport Agency, Tauranga Harbour Watch, the Mount Maunganui Environmental Group, Ngati Ranginui Iwi Society and Te Runanga o Ngati Kahu.
The breakwater was proposed to mitigate against ongoing effects of northerly storm events, improve safety for marina users and "greatly enhance" the use and functioning of the marina to berth licence holders.
The marina is ringed by a 3.6m-wide pontoon designed to reduce wave height within the marina but this had not provided the level of protection to berth licence holders as was expected, the application said.
It stated how vessels had been damaged within their berths and mooring lines had broken during storms, while the marina itself had also been subjected to damage.
Another reason given for the breakwater was to "future proof the marina from ongoing Port of Tauranga expansion".
"The operation of large cargo vessels, including support craft (tugs) in the vicinity of the marina may result in prop wash flowing through the marina making berthing difficult," the application stated.
"The construction of the northern breakwater will mitigate against these effects, while allowing the Port of Tauranga to carry out their proposed future activities without restriction."
In its submission, Port of Tauranga said the breakwater would have "significant adverse effects" on the environment, particularly on the port's operations now and in the future.


The port cited specific concerns about the deposition of sediment into shipping channels, scouring of the harbour bed and the "possible erosion" of its infrastructure, as well as "increasing water velocities" around its berthfaces.
Port of Tauranga property manager Tony Reynish yesterday told the Bay of Plenty Times the port wanted to work with Tauranga Bridge Marina.
The port believed there was not sufficient information on what impact the breakwater would have, Mr Reynish said.
Tauranga Harbour Watch did not want consent granted until it could be established that the breakwater would not exacerbate sea lettuce blooms.
Writing on behalf on Ngati Ranginui Iwi Society, Pia Bennett said the mauri (life force) of Te Awanui (Tauranga Harbour) was being "seriously compromised by the constant modifications and pressures, including this application".
"Our kaitiakitanga rights and responsibilities are constantly being ignored by decision makers. Our relationship with our harbour is under threat."
Among more than 40 other points, Ms Bennett wrote how Ngati Ranginui believed the breakwater was "over the top and superfluous given the few that will benefit" and that damage and maintenance should be a "readily accepted liability" by the owners.
However, of the more than 40 submissions made on the application, the majority were in support of it.
One submitter wrote that the breakwater would "reduce risk of injury to people and damage to property" and another stated how the breakwater could possibly mitigate damage from a tsunami.
Another wrote: "The marina needs a rockwall. This will break the current and make the whole facility safer."
Tauranga Bridge Marina looked at 11 different options to protect the northern end of the marina, among them a V-shaped rock breakwater and two straight rock breakwaters.
It had ruled out the "do nothing" option, which "would result in ongoing damage to private vessels and infrastructure of the Tauranga Bridge Marina, while ongoing safety issues would not be mitigated".
A hearing date was yet to be confirmed.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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