Projects to further enhance the successful community efforts to recover from the Rena Disaster and reinvigorate the Bay of Plenty's appeal to visitors are included in the approved applications to the Mediterranean Shipping Company's Rena Recovery Fund.
Concerned about the costs imposed on the Bay of Plenty community by the environmental impact of the sinking of the Rena, the Mediterranean Shipping Company donated $1 Million to compensate local organisations.
"While MSC was just the charterer of the Rena and not responsible for the operations of the ship which resulted in the grounding, we want to recognise and thank those community organisations which put so much effective volunteer effort into putting things right again," says Managing Director of MSC (Aust) Pty Ltd Kevin Clarke.
Amongst projects being funded is a sculpture to commemorate the recovery from the Rena disaster to be placed above the beach at Mt Maunganui on the second anniversary of the grounding. Carved from Oamaru stone by Bay of Plenty artist Peter Cramond the sculpture depicts the release of penguins that had been covered in oil during the disaster.
As Motiti Island was the community most directly and most significantly affected by the Rena grounding, $366,000 has been allocated so the various island groups that submitted applications can work together to agree on the best way make use of the funds.
The next largest grant goes to Tourism Bay of Plenty to assist in implementing initiatives to promote tourism businesses that suffered losses as a result of the grounding.
Other organisations receiving funds include volunteer coastguard, lifeguard services, fire brigades, and community trusts whose individual efforts played a major role in mitigating the environmental impacts of the disaster.
Chaired by former Chief District Court Judge Sir Peter Trapski, the distribution committee included Mayor of Tauranga, Stuart Crosby, Western Bay of Plenty Mayor, Ross Paterson, Chair of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council John Cronin, Iwi representative Te Awanui Black, and the shipping company of MSC (Aust) Pty Ltd was represented by Managing Director Kevin Clarke.