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Spotlight on the Whangamata Marina


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Spotlight on the Whangamata Marina

The 1st July 2008, was supposed to mark the formal commencement of the construction of the 17 million dollar marina at Whangamata. The only people onsite today were about 30 Hauraki Maori and community members setting up camp to raise government and public awareness about the inadequacies of the marina proposal. Ms Pauline Clarkin, one of the spokespersons for the protesters had this to say about the Marina Society’s no-show:

The Marina Society did not turn up to the site because they still don’t have all the consents they need to start construction of the Whangamata Marina.

Hauraki Maori felt it important to raise awareness about the changes to the marina development over recent months that the community had not been privy to because they were all processed on a non-notified basis. Ms Clarkin states:

“In the last 5 months there have been several changes to the marina proposal. There has been a significant reduction of the rock lining of the marina channel; the removal of a 40metre breakwater from the marina design and consent to remove indigenous vegetation from the coastal marine area something that was never sought or consented to in the original decision.”

Nathan Kennedy, another spokesperson at the site added:

“Before the Marina Society could do anything, they also needed to apply to obtain critical consents that were missing from the original decision such as the erection of a 50m breakwater; the occupation and use of 4 hectares of space in the coastal marine area for the marina basin. All of these very significant omissions were processed on a non-notified basis by Environment Waikato in June 2008”

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Mr Kennedy goes on to say:

“We have recently heard that the Marina Society has also been advised by the Thames Coromandel District Council that the changes they seek to the land based aspects of the marina development are significant enough to require a variation or even replacement of the consents originally granted and that these changes are such that public notification is likely. On top of this the Marina Society has yet to obtain consents for their fuel facilities and landowner consents and lease arrangements for both the land and the coastal marine area are not yet in place”

Mr Paul Shanks, a local community member who was supporting the protest and push to raise awareness said::

“Before the Marina Society can start work on the reclamation they have to demonstrate to Environment Waikato that they have the funds to complete the job something they have yet to achieve. Given that they have not even released their prospectus yet I would hazard a guess that reclamation works won’t start any time soon either.”

Ms Clarkin was confident that she spoke for everyone involved in the decade long process when she said;


It’s now got to a stage where it is impossible for us to know whether the marina proposal we have today is anything like the marina proposal originally granted. This is due to the piecemeal way that local Councils have processed the changes to date, to the extent that we doubt their ability to be removed from the process..

Nathan Kennedy concluded;

““In the past the Whangamata Marina Society has been quick to blame Maori for the delays in getting the consents they required to construct the Whangamata Marina thus deflecting the spotlight from the significant inadequacies of their proposal. All of the recent and proposed changes to the design and scale of the marina development are now bringing these inadequacies into sharp relief. We want the government, through the Minister for the Environment, to put the spotlight on the Whangamata Marina development and the way that local Councils have made decisions about the changes over the last 5 months ”

ENDS

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