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Crunch Time For Whakatane Marina

Whakatane Marina Media Release

Local boaties from the Waikato and Bay of Plenty are being asked to support plans for a long-awaited 180 berth marina in the upper Whakatane Harbour.

Plans for the marina have reached a critical stage. Starting next week, brochures and questionnaires will be distributed to several thousand boat-owners, marine suppliers and clubs, divers, fishermen and coastguard members to find out who wants to buy a marina berth in Whakatane.

Expressions of interest will be sought plus a commitment to join the Whakatane Marina Society so that the next stage of planning can be progressed.

The proposed marina site is on the right bank, which is on the town side, of the Whakatane River immediately upstream from the Yacht Club and on land owned by the Crown. The Marina Society has preferred development rights to use the site for a marina.

Chairman of the Whakatane Marina Society, Trevor Hart, said “it’s a prime location for a marina with easy access to one of New Zealand’s best diving and fishing grounds.” And he added, Whakatane is one of the sunniest places in the country.

But Mr Hart said, “it’s crunch time for the marina. We need at least 200 names of those who want a berth and are prepared to put their hands up and sign on the dotted line.

“If they want to secure a berth we’ll be asking for a $500 (GST incl.) non-refundable deposit as a first call against the cost of their berth.

“We are also seeking information on things like preferred length of berth, back up services and how much they would be willing to pay so we can prepare a final plan based on what berth holders want.”

Mr Hart said, “if we get enough support it’s a green light to get the marina off the ground. If we receive moderate support we might seek a private business partner or we might have to abandon the whole idea. This really is a critical time to decide the marina’s future – we need those names.”

If the society gets enough names a prospectus and a new plan will be prepared and resource consents re-lodged. The society is anticipating getting responses from as far afield as Auckland, Gisborne and Hamilton. The marketing survey is targeting people within a two hour driving range of Whakatane, plus Aucklanders who will be attracted by the berth prices.

Plans for a marina at Whakatane have been on the drawing board for many years. The concept was conceived by the late Keith Robinson. His wife Colleen took over his dream for a marina and applied for resource consents in 1998. Two years ago, a group of local business people joined forces with Mrs Robinson to progress the plans and formed an incorporate marina society.

The concept plan, as it stands now, includes 180 berths of various lengths which will be offered for sale from $35,000 for a 10.5 metre berth. The recommended prices were based on those of the nearest competitor marina at Tauranga Bridge.

The marina development proposal includes two carparks, haul out with a travel lift and all services such as water, power, fuel and sewage and rubbish removal. Site operations management would include security, on-going dredging, berth leasing and resale co-ordination.

A public meeting will be held on Tuesday 24 July at 7pm at the Whakatane Game Fishing Club to explain the plan in more details and answer questions. Those attending will also be able to sign up on the night. Additional brochures and questionnaires are available from the Whakatane Information Centre. The survey results will be presented to the Whakatane District Council in August.

Ends

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