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Work On New Plymouth Gateway Commercial Development Gets Underway

Work to clear a contaminated and rundown Waiwhakaiho site at the SH3 entrance to New Plymouth is about to get underway.

The demolition and removal of the former Ravensdown fertiliser storage depot on the corner of Devon and Smart Roads, will be carried out by a Nikau Group, and will mark the first stage of an exciting and new commercial development planned for the site.

The announcement is one of two made today by Bluehaven Group Chief Executive, Nathan York, who said he was appreciative and excited by the progress made.

The announcement of the contractor to clear the site follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with mana whenua for the area, Ngāti Tawhirikura.

“Having the confidence and support of mana whenua is very important for us, especially as the site contains what remains of Aotere pā, and for many years was neglected,” said Mr York, who has Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Raukawa/Tainui and Ngāti Tūwharetoa whakapapa.

Ngāti Tawhirikura Hapū was represented by Chair Ngamata Skipper and other Trustees at the MOU signing which occurred this morning.

Ms Skipper said the restoration of Aotere Pā is an exciting development not only for the Hapū but also for the wider community.

“The re-established Aotere Pā will highlight the occupation of Ngāti Tāwhirikura and become a significant landmark within this site. The positive working relationship we have with Bluehaven has allowed us to achieve this milestone,” she said.

“We are humbled to be able to have the support of Ngāti Tawhirikura, Puketapu and Te Atiawa through the consenting process and to be able to assist in the restoration of Aotere Pā,” Mr York said.

Auckland based Nikau Group will clear the site. Nikau Group has previously completed deconstruction work at the Patea Freezing Works and the Port Taranaki Power Station.

The site served for decades as a fertiliser storage depot before Ravensdown built a new complex on a neighbouring property in 2019. The old site was purchased by Bluehaven in 2017, with the Aotere Pā site transferring to Hapū ownership.

Consent for the new complex was granted by the New Plymouth District Council in April of this year.

“We have exciting plans for this excellent location, and we are very grateful to take the first steps in what will be a positive journey for ourselves and the people of and visitors to New Plymouth and Taranaki,” Mr York said.

“We have taken a patient long-term approach, focusing on each step of the journey from purchase to resource consent, and in negotiating and taking on board the expectations of Hapū, Council and others across the community.

“We have exciting plans for this location, and we have strong confidence in the long-term prospects for this region, despite recent setbacks due to Covid-19. We are committed to rid New Plymouth of a dilapidated site and develop a state-of-the-art commercial hub, a destination that will create jobs and enhance the region’s economy, and turn around what has become an eye-sore on New Plymouth’s north-east entrance, into a proper entry statement befitting the city that brings so many economic benefits to Taranaki,” Mr York said.

A start date for construction work has not been set, but Mr York said he would continue to provide updates when they were available.

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