River dredging plea

The clock is ticking on the Mahurangi River dredging consents, but the Mahurangi River Restoration Trust says it needs another $300,000 before it can start.

Trust representatives Steve Burnett and Peter Thompson put their funding case to the Rodney Local Board at its meeting in Warkworth on April 19.

The estimated total cost of the project, over the three-year dredging programme, will be $5 million.

Around $1 million has already been raised, mostly through in-kind donations and grants, which have been used to secure the necessary consents and to construct the land-based receiving site.

“We have approached Government and will be approaching other funding institutions for the bulk of the outstanding funds, but we currently need an immediate amount of $300,000 to enable us to get access to the river from the de-watering site,” Mr Burnett said. “The resource consent was granted last year and dredging can start as soon as the access is completed. There are time limits on the landfill site so it’s urgent that we get underway as soon as possible.”

Mr Burnett said a navigable river offered the area a number of environmental and social benefits.

He also flagged the possibility of a future regular ferry service to Auckland from Snells Beach.

“This would serve commuters through to Auckland central and, more importantly, open up the whole of the Mahurangi region for tourists from cruise liners, who currently do not come north due to the vagaries of the road system.”

Mr Burnett said the community had shown its commitment to the river by building the wharf structures, creating Lucy Moore Park and developing the foreshore walkway.

Commenting on the request after the meeting, Board chair Beth Houlbrooke said the Board would consider it in line with its Local Board Plan outcomes and available capital budget.