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Council and Whakatōhea working together for Harbour Project

Council and Whakatōhea working together for Harbour Project

Recent comments about Council involvement in the offshore sea farm have prompted Councillor Selby Fisher to take the opportunity to clarify Council policy on the Harbour Redevelopment.

During the recent visit to the Ōpōtiki District by the Hon Chris Tremain, Councillor Fisher had several occasions to discuss the Harbour Redevelopment project in its wider context of economic benefits for Ōpōtiki and the entire Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Councillor Selby Fisher and Mayor John Forbes explained to the Minister the two separate but closely linked projects– the development of a commercially viable harbour entrance and the extension and further development of an aquaculture industry.

For Councillor Fisher the distinction between these two projects is important to be able to explain to ratepayers the activities that the Council was investing in and the activities that were being progressed and funded through a private entity – the Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board.

“Ratepayers often come to me concerned that Council is taking on the role of investing in the business of a mussel farm but this is not the case.

“The two projects are complementary and are both driven by a genuine desire to improve the economic future for the district. Of course, Council is working to develop the harbour so that the sea farm can be a success. And on the other side, the Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board and their partner organisations are proceeding with their plans for a mussel farm and processing industry on the basis of an accessible harbour entrance. These two projects are working together towards a single vision.”

Councillor Fisher is keen to distinguish the two projects and at the same time show that flow-on effect of the harbour redevelopment is much wider than just the business opportunity provided through the mussel farm.

“Once we develop the harbour entrance, and we have a partner who is working in an industry to make this viable, we can consider the many other industries that could follow. We have the space to develop all sorts of marina based industries – slipways, marine engineers, recreational and charter fishing vessels, marine survey, fishing and cray fishing all become possible once we have the harbour entrance operational and the infrastructure to support it.

The marine farm alone is a great opportunity for the District. Add to this the many other industries associated with the redevelopment and together they will contribute to a fantastic economic future for Ōpōtiki.”

A public meeting will be held on 10 July at 5pm at the Memorial Park Sports Pavilion, Opotiki to outline the Ōpōtiki District Councils ‘20/20 Vision’ – the economic development strategy and to provide an update on the Harbour Redevelopment Project and Aquaculture activities.

ENDS

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