As the region's roading infrastructure developed, use of the port reduced and the harbour was not maintained. Significant shallowing of the Waioeka River mouth (harbour entrance) resulted in access being limited to smaller vessels which can only cross the bar in good conditions. Bad weather further reduces harbour access.
Re-establishing the harbour is a long-held community aspiration. The Opotiki Harbour Development Project will provide a platform for sustainable economic growth by:
- Capitalising on opportunities from the existing 3,800 hectare marine farm offshore from Opotiki.
- Enabling other aquaculture ventures and marine related development in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.
- Increasing overall social, economic and cultural wellbeing in Opotiki and the wider Eastern Bay of Plenty.
- Enhancing recreation opportunities and public access to the coast.
The preferred option for improving the harbour entrance is to construct two groynes either side of a new channel dredged to a depth of about four metres, then to close the existing harbour entrance. This was confirmed through a number of studies, preliminary modelling and design work as being the best option for providing significant long term navigability improvements and good accessibility in most wave conditions.
Resource consents have been granted for the harbour construction work and Opotiki District Council is in the final stages of preparing a business case to secure funding from government. In parallel, Opotiki District Council selected HEB Construction as the preferred tenderer for harbour construction and negotiations are underway. Subject to government funding being confirmed, harbour construction is likely to commence in 2018.
Council has a number of projects underway to prepare for the harbour and related growth. Click here to read more about our strategic/current projects.