Marina Developer Responds To Penguin Concerns
Kennedy Point Marina Developers say they have listened to the strong feedback from interest groups and leading experts in response to concerns around management of the kororā / Little Blue Penguins.
The Marina will be located at Waiheke’s Kennedy Point next to the existing vehicle ferry terminal, public boat ramp and pontoons.
Kitt Littlejohn, Director, Kennedy Point Marina says; “We have taken on board the recently expressed views of the public and local interest groups, who also share a strong passion in ensuring the welfare of the Little Blue Penguins at Kennedy Point.
“We have engaged Dr Leigh Bull, who is one of New Zealand’s most respected penguin experts. She will work alongside our existing ecological consultants to review the Council approved plans for the monitoring and management of penguins during construction activities.”
Wharf construction works requiring the movement of any rocks on the breakwater above the mid-tide line will not commence until this review process has been completed.
Dr Bull says; “My role in the coming weeks will be to work with the Kennedy Point Marina team to ensure best practice is achieved in relation to Little Blue Penguin management. This will go further than the requirements of the resource consent and will look at opportunities to create additional habitat to protect and allow them to thrive long-term at Kennedy Point.”
As part of this process, Mr Littlejohn confirms that input will be sought from Mana Whenua and Auckland Council.
A monitoring programme is being implemented and Dr Bull’s review is expected to take three weeks to complete.
Mr Littlejohn added; “There has been a great deal of misunderstanding around this issue and we would like to reiterate that it has always been our priority to protect the Little Blue Penguins. We are not and never have been demolishing the existing breakwater wall.”
“All work scheduled was approved by Auckland Council including our construction management methodology that specifically related to accommodating the possibility of penguins being in the rocks when the rocks were to be moved temporarily. No work was ever planned to take place on the breakwater wall during the moulting or breeding season when penguins are most vulnerable.”
The development of a Predator Control and Penguin Monitoring Plan was due to be completed by the end of next year prior to the opening of the Marina.
Mr Littlejohn said; “We have agreed to begin work on this plan now due to the level of public interest and have engaged Dr Leigh Bull to work alongside us with this.
“We are looking at best practice examples such as Te Ara Tupua Nga Uranga ki Pito-One shared path, Napier Port, the Eastbourne Cycleway and St Kilda Breakwater redevelopment (Melbourne).
“We want people to know that we also care about the penguins and are committed to doing more than we are required to do under our consent. We are also committed to providing regular construction and penguin specific updates, and creating more opportunities for the public to have their say.”