Resource consents for Stage 1 now approved
“Significant milestone for Tairāwhiti”
Eastland Port in Gisborne is preparing for its most extensive infrastructure developments in more than a century.
After years in the planning, the port has received the official go ahead to proceed with two major infrastructure projects. On December 2, the Environment Court advised that they had signed off the resource consents for the rebuild of Wharf 7 and the slipway.
“This is the culmination of a process we started five years ago. It’s a significant milestone for Eastland Port and Tairāwhiti, and one we’ve worked together to achieve,” said chief operating officer Andrew Gaddum.
The rebuilding of Wharf 7 and the slipway are part of the port’s plans to maintain and upgrade essential infrastructure, some of which is more than 100 years old.
They are the first stage of the Twin Berth project, which will help support, future-proof and grow the economy of Tairāwhiti. This will allow for two 185–200 metre long ships to berth at once, and open up the possibilities of shipping containers to and from the region via a coastal service.
The resource consents for Stage One were lodged in 2017, and originally granted by independent commissioners in 2018. Several parties subsequently appealed that decision to the Environment Court.
“We’ve worked through the issues raised, and have collectively come up with solutions that address them,” said Mr Gaddum.
“We significantly altered the plans based on input from local hapū, iwi, other stakeholders and the community.
“Key outcomes include ensuring that the integrity of Te Toka a Taiau, the historic rock at the mouth of the Tūranganui River, is respected and preserved. The slipway upgrades will provide an enhanced habitat for juvenile crayfish and marine invertebrates. And, we will monitor and report on a wider range of environmental factors.”
Mr Gaddum said that developing closer relationships with hapū and iwi was fundamental to the future success of all projects at the port.
“We have formalised a consultative partnership with the hapū of Tūranganui-a-Kiwa and are currently finalising the protocols for how this will operate.”
With the changes and initiatives agreed by all the involved parties, the consents went back before the Environment Court and have now been signed off by the chief Environment Court judge.
The final design details and costings of Wharf 7 are currently being worked through. It’s expected that contract negotiations will be completed in the new year, and awarded once final board and shareholder approval is received. Construction is planned to begin in the second quarter, after squash and kiwifruit season.
Contractors will demolish and then rebuild Wharf 7 so it has the strength to allow mobile harbour cranes to operate on it, and provide a stronger, more resilient lifeline asset for Tairāwhiti. Construction is expected to take approximately 18 months.
“The port team will work closely with our customers, other port users and the community to make sure they’re kept updated, and we’re aiming to minimise the impacts of the construction work as much as possible,” said Mr Gaddum.
The projects are part of the $140 million upgrade of port facilities planned over the next five years. Like many other Eastland Group infrastructure projects, the redevelopments will be funded through the Group’s debt facility and paid down over time through cashflow.
Next year the second significant resource consent application will be lodged by the port, which will encompass Stage Two of the Twin Berth development.
This consent will cover the extension of the existing Wharf 8 structure; about one and a half hectares of reclamation; dredging the channel and harbour; and the rebuilding of the existing outer breakwater structure. It will also include upgrading the Southern Log Yard with the port’s award-winning stormwater treatment system.
“Community consultation is a key part of our Stage Two consent process, and will include presentations, newsletters, emails, drop-in sessions, a website and other opportunities for people to share their thoughts and ideas.”
You’re invited to email email@example.com with your feedback, follow the Eastland Port Facebook page, and read the port’s newsletter at www.eastland.nz/eastland-port/about-us/newsletter/
Photo: Resource consents have been signed off for the rebuild of the slipway (foreground) and Wharf 7.