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Innovative, Green Solution Sought For Moorings

After discussions over several years about a new solution for Waikawa Bay’s boat moorings, Marlborough District Council is putting out a Request for Information (RFI) to test what’s available.

The RFI seeks to gain information from commercial parties on environmentally sensitive mooring systems and innovative digital technology applications.

Marlborough Harbourmaster Captain Luke Grogan says the Council wants to see a range of improvements to mooring management and technology.

“We want to ensure navigational safety, make optimum use of the available mooring area, allow restoration of the seabed and ecosystem, and prevent any further environmental harm.”

“There are more than 240 moorings in Waikawa Bay, 173 of them clustered in and around its south-east corner.”

Environmental impacts were identified as a principal concern in discussions with Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui, who hold mana whenua and mana moana over Waikawa Bay, near Waitohi/Picton. A multi-beam survey of Tōtaranui/Queen Charlotte Sound in 2018 showed considerable pock marking on the seabed caused by the chains of moored vessels, which cause significant ecological damage to the seabed.

“Among the outcomes the Council, Te Ātiawa and others are seeking are more environmentally sensitive mooring systems with more efficient swing zones.

“We are also looking for technologies that enable the efficient use of moorings, ideally via a smart phone app or similar.”

Captain Grogan says vessels seeking temporary moorings are sometimes unable to access moorings that are not being used.

“Everyone agrees there’s got to be a better way of doing this,” he says.

Last year the Council released its Proposed Marlborough Environment Plan (PMEP). The plan, which is now in its appeal phase, seeks an integrated approach to resource management.

It guides how individuals, businesses and the wider community may use public resources such as fresh water and coastal space, under a single planning document.

Moorings are currently permitted through a resource consent. Waikawa Bay moorings are typically used by recreational yachts and motor vessels of between six and 24 metres in length.

Some mooring resource consents have expired and others will expire over the next few years.

“We want to determine what the best solution is for Waikawa Bay and position all moorings in designated areas, says Luke Grogan.

Through the RFI the Council would like to see working examples of proposed mooring systems and technologies, and how these could be deployed in Waikawa Bay.

There are more than 4,000 moorings in the Marlborough Sounds and a successful pilot at Waikawa could become a model for a wider roll-out.

Details of this RFI are available at https://www.marlborough.govt.nz/your-council/tenders/tender-list or contact Project Manager Andy Jones at andy.jones@marlborough.govt.nz

or 027 216 8896.

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