Whangamata marina gets go ahead - finally

Environment Minister David Benson-Pope has given the Whangamata Marina Society the go ahead to construct and operate a marina at Whangamata.

In light of the further information provided by the Environment Court to the Minister, Mr Benson-Pope decided that he was able to grant the consents subject to stringent conditions.

Mr Benson-Pope said he considered the conditions imposed would provide greater certainty that the positive benefits from the marina would occur and that negative effects would be monitored.

New conditions imposed include:

* monitoring any long-term effects on the Whangamata sand bar.

* ceasing work if any archaeological remains are discovered until a contingency plan is in place.

* the removal of a slipway prior to the operation of the marina.

* the Department of Conservation be consulted on the management plan for the operation of the marina.

* the Department of Conservation be consulted on the ecological monitoring plan and to be involved in monitoring fish and shellfish at Moana Point.

* Greater involvement of the Department of Conservation in the enhancement of the salt marsh that will be used for placing fill from the development.

The marina proposal is contentious.

Many boaties support the development, and the Marina Society has spent 12 years and up to $1.3 million trying to get resource consent for its construction.

The Thames-Coromandel District Council is also understood to back it.

But iwi oppose the marina because of fears that traditional food-gathering areas will be lost.

Environmentalists were upset that the marina could help destroy a saltmarsh, and some surfers think the popular Whangamata bar will be affected.

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