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Clean up harbour with "The Phil Warren"

Mayors & ARC Chair clean up harbour with "The Phil Warren"

A new cleanup operation targeting Waitemata Harbour rubbish will take place with the launch of "The Phil Warren," a boat that will be used to help pick up harbour litter and remind harbour users to keep the waters clean and rubbish-free.

Eleven-year old April Warren, granddaughter of the late Phil Warren (former chair of Auckland Regional Council), officially launched the boat and harbour cleanup programme, which is run by the newly formed Waitemata Harbour Cleanup Trust (WHCT).

Accompanying April at the ceremony were the mayors of Auckland, North Shore and Waitakere cities (John Banks, George Wood and Bob Harvey respectively), Auckland Regional Council (ARC) Chair Gwen Bull, professional yachtswoman Penny Whiting, Ports of Auckland CEO Geoff Vazey, and Onyx Group Limited CEO Mark Huddleston, all of whom are WHCT board members.

Formed in September 2002, WHCT is the brainchild of Waitakere City mayor Bob Harvey, who recognised the need to preserve the beauty and distinct character of the Waitemata Harbour.

"I've spent a large part of my life on the water and have seen the environmental damage caused from rubbish that is washed into our shorelines and waterways," says Mayor Harvey. "This led me to ask neighbouring local authorities and environmentally-conscious companies to see if we could join forces and clean up the Waitemata Harbour, a body of water that millions of people enjoy year-round."

The cleanup operation has received sponsorship commitment for the next three years from the three councils on the WHCT board as well as from the ARC, Ports of Auckland, Onyx Group Limited and WaterCare Services. The Trust is currently seeking sponsors for a second smaller vessel, such as an inflatable or jet craft to help cleanup operators reach areas too narrow and shallow for "The Phil Warren."

"A lot of rubbish gets carried in to the shore by the tide and we need a smaller vessel to get to places like inside the Viaduct Basin, the North Shore inner harbour estuaries, and the entrances to West Auckland creeks," says Mayor Harvey.

ARC Chair Gwen Bull agrees, saying she is very open to any initiative that fits into the ARC's larger "Big Clean Up" campaign, which has been promoted throughout the Auckland region since it was launched in March of this year.

"With more than four million people expected on or near our harbour over the next few months, litter is a growing concern," says Chair Bull. "It is also really important that we safeguard the harbour for future generations so that young people like April Warren and her friends can grow up enjoying the harbour as we have."

April Warren says that her family is honoured with the name of the boat. "My Poppa would have been very proud and my family is very happy that he is being remembered this way."

Ports of Auckland is leasing "The Phil Warren" to the Trust for the three-year period. The seven-metre aluminium powerboat was repainted and renamed in time for the 28 November launch ceremony.

© Scoop Media

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