A proposed reclamation south of Paihia wharf will go ahead only with proof of community support, council-owned company Far North Holdings says.
A 4000sq m reclamation at what is now a small beach between the Maritime Building and Maiki Hill was part of the original Paihia Masterplan consented in 2010 but put on ice after the financial crisis.
The reclamation proposal includes landscaped open space, a floating helicopter pad and a ''wave attenuator'' with berths for 12 boats.
A promise of government and council funding last year revived other aspects of the project — notably two breakwaters and the restoration of Horotutu Beach — but no public cash was pledged for the reclamation.
FNH has the consent until 2044 so it could still go ahead but only if Paihia people decide they want it enough to raise the $3 million required.
The reclamation proposal has, however, generated almost as much controversy as the breakwaters, prompting FNH to further distance itself from the plan.
Chief executive Andy Nock last Friday said it would only go ahead if the community wanted it and "the burden of proof will be very high".
However, given the debate it had generated, the reclamation would go ahead only if a clear mandate from the wider community could be demonstrated.
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''We will only build the reclamation if the community wants us to and the burden of proof of this will be very high,'' he said.
Nock also said the company would seek a fresh, publicly notified resource consent from the Northland Regional Council if the attenuator was to be built.
The original 2010 plan included a number of commercial buildings, such as a restaurant and i-Site, with lease income helping to pay for the project.
The current version envisages a community-managed open space free of commercial buildings but paid for by the public.
Paihia conservationist Brad Windust opposed the reclamation, saying a natural stream would be destroyed and little blue penguins would lose a nesting area, and Sea Change co-founder Jane Banfield questioned the mandate of the steering group developing the plan.
An attenuator is a floating structure designed to reduce the impact of waves, such as that around the outside of Bay of Islands Marina. It can also be used for berthing.