A decision on a new marina that will cater for larger boats and pump nearly $10 million a year into the Whangārei economy is expected before the end of August.
The Whangārei Harbour Marina Management Trust has applied for a resource consent for the new Okara Marina, just up-harbour from Limeburner's Creek and accessed off Port Rd, to be built at an estimated cost of between $12m and $13m.
The new marina, if given the green light, is expected to create 133 jobs during its two-year construction phase.
Independent Commissioners appointed by the Northland Regional Council have 15 working days from today to issue their ruling.
Insufficient capacity for permanent and casual visiting yachts necessitated plans to build a new marina that can accommodate between 115 and 130 yachts.
The trust already manages the 177-berth marina at the Town Basin and 109 pile moorings at Kissing Pt.
The proposed marina would meet the growing demand for berths for large yachts up to 40m.
According to a report prepared by Market Economics, the local economy is expected to earn $9.4m each year on berthing fees, retail spend, and tourism-related activities once the marina is fully functional by 2021/22.
Convenor of the working group for the project, Brian McLachlan, said the new marina tied in with the Hundertwasser centre, especially for European yachties, as well as more businesses for Whangārei retailers.
"People specialising in things like GPS can set up new businesses in Whangārei once the new marina is up and running. It will also attract other tourists."
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Trust manager Brian Caulton said not only would the new marina add economic value to the local economy but also look impressive for people that drove into town.
"We're pretty excited to get the project started. The marine industry is growing fast and there are plans for further expansion so this project complements that vision," he said.
In the 2015/16 season, the trust had to turn away 140 international yachts and more than 80 vessels on a waiting list and Caulton said the demand was for berths 18 metres or longer but there was insufficient space for them locally.
Given the high demand for permanent berths, the trust expects Okara Marina to reach 100 percent occupancy for permanent berths within three years of the completion of the marina.
In the first year, the new marina's income is expected to be about $290,000 and expenses of $150,000, earning a profit of $140,000.
By the time the marina is fully occupied from 2021, it could generate an income of $920,000— an average of $7984 per berth.
On average, permanent berths will spend $40,000 annually on boat repairs and maintenance including hard-stand and haul-out during off-peak period.