A controversial plan to upgrade the main wharf serving Kawau Island in the lead-up to Christmas has been deferred after it ran into fierce opposition.

Auckland Transport proposed restricting access to the wharf from as early as next week
so work could start. The plan encountered resistance from Kawau residents and island-based commercial interests, who complained it was sprung on them without consultation.

The wharf at Sandspit is used by ferries and launches serving the island. On fine weekends, dozens of people use the wharf to access the island or parts of the Gulf. The work was due to start on Monday.

After a series on meetings, AT announced today that work would be postponed until after summer.


Matiul Khan, a senior AT manager, wrote to Rodney local board chairwoman Beth Houlbrooke, confirming the delay.

He said: "Following a review of the concerns and interests which were raised, Auckland Transport has decided to defer maintenance work on Sandspit wharf until after the summer season."

Khan said vehicle movements on the wharf would need to be managed or possibly restricted until maintenance works could be done.

AT was investigating options to manage vehicle use on the wharf. Khan said AT, which is an Auckland Council controlled organisation, would keep an eye on the condition of the wharf.

He told Houlbrooke that the agency "reserves the right to perform maintenance work or close the wharf at any time should it be deemed necessary to ensure its continued safe operation."

Michael Marris, who coordinated the pushback by Kawau ratepayers against the AT plan,
said the decision came as a "huge relief."

He said island residents and business owners had responded "in the face of a formidable foe."

AT proposed a two stage, $400,000 project. Initially it indicated it would shut the wharf completely, though it later told residents that it aimed to keep access open via a walkway
alongside the wooden structure.