Future boat ramp plans and improvements for Whitianga

By: Media Release

A plan to improve existing boat and wharf facilities around Whitianga over the next few years has been given the go-ahead as part of a new Boat Ramp Strategy for Whitianga.

Boat _ramp _NZ

"Over the years there have been many investigations and proposals into possible sites for the development of a single ‘Destination Boat Ramp’ to help cater to the growing number of recreational and commercial fishers and boaties," says Allan Tiplady, Thames Coromandel District Council area manager for Mercury Bay.

"With the development of the Whitianga Boat Ramp Strategy, the conclusion is that no one site that will be able to provide a single Destination Boat Ramp facility," says Mr Tiplady. "Instead we're looking at a number of boat ramp facilities in different locations collectively meeting the current and future demand."

The Whitianga Boat Ramp Strategy has just been approved by the Mercury Bay Community Board and takes into account:

  • The increasing demand for local boat launching facilities within the area and the requirement to park the vehicle and trailer in close proximity to these facilities.
  • Increasing demand over major peak period of the local boat launching facilities by ratepayers on holiday and visitors to the area.
  • A number of commercial users operating from the existing Whitianga Wharf. Other peaks occur at long weekends and dates related to fishing and diving competitions and other festivals.

"Over the years we've also been in discussions with a number of different groups about future plans for our boat ramp facilities," says Mr Tiplady.

"We are currently reinstating a Stakeholders Working Group, which would be made up of interested persons from the recreational and commercial boating communities, iwi, Coastguard, Whitianga Waterways, the Marina Society, the Mercury Bay Business Association, Rugby and Tennis clubs, along with other stakeholders to get further feedback on the Boat Ramp Strategy and ensure the needs of various users are met."

Proposed options in the Whitianga Boat Ramp Strategy

1 - Dundas St boat ramp

  • Extend the ramp to create a double ramp with a centre pontoon.
  • Extend the length of the ramp into the water by 9m to give a total length of 33m.
  • Dredge the channel from the ramp to the main river channel to enable all tide use.
  • Detail design to identify a need for a tidal protection structure to maintain the channel.
  • Provide parking on the adjacent land which Council controls by way of a control and management agreement with the Whitianga Marina Society.

2 - Robinson Road boat ramp

  • Build a new boat ramp here adjacent to the existing ramp to facilitate all tide use.
  • Retain the existing boat ramp in its current configuration.
  • Dredge the channel from the ramp to the main river channel to enable all tide use.

3 - Whitianga Wharf

  • Long term the plan is to facilitate the objective of closing the Wharf boat ramp, so a third facility will most likely be required. However before a final decision is made the usage and demand for the upgraded ramps at Dundas Street and Robinson Road, along with on-going usage of the Wharf ramp, will be monitored to assess the capacity in relation to the usage. This will provide the information necessary to make a final determination on whether a third ramp is needed.
  • The current proposal around a third ramp longer term is at the Esplanade northern reclamation. This would involve working with the Waikato Regional Council, Land Information NZ and Whitianga Marina Society to plan the reclamation of the area, between the tip of the Whitianga Marina Northern Reclamation and the existing wharf boat ramp. The current proposal is for a double boat ramp with a pontoon to be developed along with additional car parking. However any planning around the reclamation would also need to be undertaken in conjunction with the Whitianga Town Centre upgrade project.

What's been spent so far on boat ramp facilities?

In our 2015-25 the Long Term Plan we have budget in the Destination Boat Ramp Project for boat ramp and harbour works. To date $135,552 has been spent on investigation, dredging and design work at the Dundas St and Robinson Rd boat ramps, leaving $621,448 for the balance of the work, including consents and construction.

A further $112,000 is allocated in the 2018/19 year which would be used as funding for the detailed investigation; design etc. for the northern reclamation proposal if it proceeds.

At other facilities in the wider Mercury Bay $178k is budgeted for a new launching pontoon and boat ramp improvements at the Purangi Estuary and $210k is budgeted for a new launching pontoon and boat ramp improvements at Matarangi.

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