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Wharf for Takapuna

NEWS RELEASE

October 11, 2006

Wharf for Takapuna

North Shore City Council in conjunction with ARTA have provided funding for ferry wharves to be developed at Takapuna and Browns Bay in their long term plans to provide new ferry commuter services.

The city will now investigate the opportunity to provide an innovative low profile floating pontoon to serve ferries and recreational boat owners at Takapuna Beach.

A working party made up of the combined interests of the council, boating, tourism, commuter and business groups, technical advisers and the marine industry has been formed to assess the need and explore options.

The provision of improved docking facilities for serving the interests of these varied groups has been revived with the possible extension of ferry services up the east coast as far as Rodney District.

With recreational boating a major interest for many people in North Shore City it is important to provide for their needs as far as possible, says infrastructure and environment committee chairman, Cr Tony Barker.

And with the city expected to grow, with resulting pressure on land-based public transport, there are opportunities to extend ferry services as a viable alternative, he says.

But North Shore City must also be responsive to the significant environmental and practical challenges posed by marine structures of any kind, Cr Barker says.

Convenor of the working party investigating the wharf facility, Cr Peter White, says the council must be looking to the future in providing additional transport options, especially as it's clear that the rising cost of energy will put even more pressure on the need for commuters to leave their cars at home and use public transport options whenever possible.

Yesterday's infrastructure and environment committee meeting heard that the pontoon might extend 70 metres from the top of the existing Takapuna Beach boat ramp, provide a minimum draft of 1.5 metres and would have little impact on the seafloor configuration, current or tidal flows.

Cr White says the proposal is a cheaper, low profile, environmentally friendly option that would provide not only a public transport alternative but also greater amenity value, and as a consequence warrants further investigation.

The trust suggests that floating pontoons secured to the seabed by chains and anchors provide the best answer in environmental terms. They would allow a ferry operator to operate a year-round service on the condition that they would provide an alternative bus service during periods of bad weather on what can be an exposed eastern coast.

Funding sources were also outlined to the meeting, and Cr White says the trust was formed to provide infrastructure to improve public access to the harbour and Gulf, and has the ability to access private funds to minimise the impact on city ratepayers.

A total of $11.3m has been earmarked in the city's long-term community plan for the provision of wharves, however trustees believe that the floating pontoon option could be constructed for under $1m.

The committee decided to proceed with investigating the proposal.

ENDS

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