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More Names Needed for Whakatane Marina

Media Release 9 August 2001

MORE NAMES NEEDED FOR MARINA

Another 50 names are needed to secure the future of a 180-berth marina in Whakatane, although support for the marina has been overwhelming. The chairman of the Whakatane Marina Society, Trevor Hart, says following a very successful public meeting in late July, 70 people have now signed up for marina berths and paid their joining fee. "And there's another sixty people waiting in the wings who have put their names forward saying they support the marina and would like a berth in a year or so."

Over 150 people attended the meeting, many from outside the region, as a show of support for the marina and to secure a berth. Mr Hart says overall, the response has been tremendous. "It's only been three weeks since we started marketing the marina and calling for names and we've had over 200 people respond to the questionnaire to show their support on top of those who want a berth.

"Some people are so keen they've offered to invest money to make sure the marina goes ahead - and these are private individuals, not companies."

"It would be an absolute shame if it tipped over at this stage. All we need now is extra 50 people to sign up for berths so we have the financial security to go ahead with the next stage. That involves refining the concept plans then lodging resource consents. A prospectus will follow."

Last month the Marina Society and Whakatane District Council launched a marketing plan calling for expressions of interest in the proposed marina. The Society asked those wanting a berth to pay $500 to join the Society and as first call against their berth.

Brochures and questionnaires were mailed to thousands of boat owners, marine suppliers and clubs, divers, coastguard members and fishers in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty area.

Interest has come from as far afield as Wellington, Auckland Ohakune, Taranaki and the Coromandel. "Of course, the bulk of the responses are from Whakatane people with a lot from Reporoa, Rotorua, Tauranga in the wider Bay of Plenty, " says Mr Hart. "One of the surprises was that few people came forward from south Taranaki or Taupo because we get floods of summer visitors from those areas each year."

The questionnaire responses provided the Society with valuable feedback on what people want at the marina including berth lengths and marina services. This information will be built into the new concept plan before resource consents are lodged.

Mr Hart says the marina on the Whakatane River is a prime site. "It's five minutes from New Zealand's best diving and fishing grounds and in one of the sunniest places in the country."

Although technically, the expressions of interest closed at the end of July, there has been such a wide show of local public support that the Society will keep taking names until it gets the numbers. "Those that sign up first will get the privileges, any discounts and best spots in the marina," says Trevor Hart.

Marina society members recently visited other North Island marinas to get feedback and information from marina operators. Trevor Hart says, "the other marina operators were surprised that we had got such a great response in such a short time and this is just another reason to encourage us along the way.

Background

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

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.

For more information please contact: Marina Hotline: 0800 005 120 or

Trevor Hart, Chairman Whakatane Marina Society on 07 308 6334 or mobile: 025 241 9751 or

Jim Finlay, Director Works & Services, Whakatane District Council on 07 307 9800 or email: jimf@whakatane-dc.govt.nz or

Whakatane Mayor, Colin Hammond on 07 307 9800 or mobile: 025 274 4931.


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