Work on Whangārei’s $20 million Ōkara Marina is expected to start in June with more than half a million dollars needed to buy one of its most expensive berths.
The first physical work beginning in June will have the start of dredging 130,000 cubic metres of harbour floor at the marina site in Whangārei’s Port Rd, in the area between the Te Matau a Pohe bascule bridge over the Hātea River and south towards Limeburners Creek.
The 115-berth Whangārei Harbour marina is expected to open in January 2025 with construction starting in August 2024.
The Ōkara Marina will cover an area equal to about 56 rugby fields when finished. That will be made up of about 6.5 rugby fields (4550 square metres) of reclaimed land, with the equivalent of another about 50 rugby fields (35,000sq m) for the marina berths and fairways.
Whangārei Marina assistant manager Sharron Beck said the work would start with dredging a path to the southeast corner of the reclamation site.
The new marina’s berths will be 10 metres to 35m long for monohulls and catamarans. Berth prices are outlined on the new marina’s website, but only for those with up to a $585,000 price tag - for an 18m-long catamaran berth. A 20m monohull berth will sell for $490,000. Prices for berths beyond these sizes are by negotiation.
Beck said Whangārei Harbour Marina Management Trust was selling some of the Ōkara Marina berths, but holding on to a significant proportion to rent out.
The Ōkara Marina was first considered in 2017 and will have taken eight years to come to fruition by the time it is open. The marina will have berths for an increasing number of yachts and other boats coming to Whangārei from throughout New Zealand and overseas.
It will bring an almost 30 per cent increase in the total number of Whangārei Harbour Marina Management Trust-run berths to 415, making it the biggest marina provider in the North - but only just. Ōpua’s Bay of Islands Marina has 400 berths in a single site.
The trust already runs the Whangārei District Council’s Town Basin Marina with 200 berths and Kissing Point Marina with 100 moorings.
Beck said overseas yachties made up more than half the trust’s Town Basin Marina users, with about 120 boats arriving each season. That number was expected to increase.
“We’re struggling to fit all the vessels in the Town Basin,” Beck said.
Overseas yachties come to Whangārei to escape the tropical cyclone season from about November to April.
Beck said the Ōkara Marina would also cater to the ever-increasing demand for marine servicing such as refits for boats coming from throughout New Zealand.
Whangārei Harbour Marina Management Trust chairman Noel Douglas said the charitable trust puts the money raised from its operations back into water-based activity groups - such as waka ama, Shackleton’s Sea Scouts and Whangārei Rowing Club - in Whangārei Harbour and surrounds.
He said the new marina’s start was a great step forward on something that had been years in the making.
Douglas said it would contribute significantly to the economy of Whangārei, the North and beyond.
The Ōkara Marina is being built with a $5m Whangārei District Council loan, to be repaid over time.
Building the Ōkara Marina will mean the removal of a hectare of mangroves skirting the Port Rd seashore between Te Matau a Pohe and the boatshed.
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