December 2013 - Request to government to part fund
In a very windy Wellington on Wednesday 11 December, Opotiki District Council CEO, Aileen Lawrie, Project Manager John Galbraith, Opotiki Mayor, John Forbes and Opotiki District Councillor Arihia Tuoro met with government folk to help further the Harbour Development project.
Labour to investigate infrastructure - Fairfax Media news release - 21 November 2013.
Radio New Zealand - National broadcast on Morning Report Tuesday 19 November - Funding provides more certainty for Opotiki Harbour project.
Exciting social and economic changes for the Opotiki district and the Entire Eastern Bay of plenty are now significantly closer to a reality following Opotiki District Council’s successful application for Regional Infrastructure Funding.
On 21 August 2013, Bay of Plenty Regional Council announced funding of $18million over two years to assist ODC’s Harbour Development Project. This funding will be used to develop twin groynes and dredging to create a harbour entrance that will be navigable almost every day of the year.
ODC Chief Executive, Aileen Lawrie, said that the Council and partner organisations were very pleased with the outcome and that the result validated the extensive detail that backs up the project.
“The Harbour Development has been planned, designed, developed, reviewed, and promoted for over ten years. It is incredibly exciting to finally reach this point.
“Along with funding already set aside by ODC, this support means that half of the funding required for the harbour is now secured. Our next step is to ask for the remainder of the funding from central government and we are busy working on the required papers now. We expect to be talking to government over the next few months,” Ms Lawrie said.
Regional Infrastructure Funding is a significant part of the long term plan for the ODC and Whakatohea joint projects. This announcement marks a major milestone for both organisations and a key step towards the end goal of a viable harbour entrance coupled with an aquaculture and processing industry.
“A Social and Economic Impact Evaluation report commissioned by the Council indicated that the Opotiki Harbour Development, in conjunction with the Eastern Sea Farms marine farm and processing plant, and the other economic activity they would stimulate, would transform the Opotiki community and bring extensive benefits for the entire Eastern Bay of Plenty.”
“This is a great step forward for both projects. We are very pleased to see a very positive show of support from the Regional Council and are very excited about the future for the region,” Ms Lawrie said.
Background note: The Regional Infrastructure Fund is designed to provide additional capital funding to assist with the development of major infrastructure projects in the Bay of Plenty region. It was established to promote sustainable regional economic development, and promote environmental protection and enhancement that supports sustainable regional economic development in the Bay of Plenty.
Recent comments about Council involvement in the offshore sea farm have prompted Councillor Selby Fisher to take the opportunity to clarify Council policy on the Harbour Redevelopment.
During the recent visit to the Opotiki District by the Hon Chris Tremain, Councillor Fisher had several occasions to discuss the Harbour Redevelopment project in its wider context of economic benefits for Opotiki and the entire Eastern Bay of Plenty.
Councillor Selby Fisher and Mayor John Forbes explained to the Minister the two separate but closely linked projects– the development of a commercially viable harbour entrance and the extension and further development of an aquaculture industry.
For Councillor Fisher the distinction between these two projects is important to be able to explain to ratepayers the activities that the Council was investing in and the activities that were being progressed and funded through a private entity – the Whakatohea Māori Trust Board.
“Ratepayers often come to me concerned that Council is taking on the role of investing in the business of a mussel farm but this is not the case.
“The two projects are complementary and are both driven by a genuine desire to improve the economic future for the district. Of course, Council is working to develop the harbour so that the sea farm can be a success. And on the other side, the Whakatohea Māori Trust Board and their partner organisations are proceeding with their plans for a mussel farm and processing industry on the basis of an accessible harbour entrance. These two projects are working together towards a single vision.”
Councillor Fisher is keen to distinguish the two projects and at the same time show that flow-on effect of the harbour redevelopment is much wider than just the business opportunity provided through the mussel farm.
“Once we develop the harbour entrance, and we have a partner who is working in an industry to make this viable, we can consider the many other industries that could follow. We have the space to develop all sorts of marina based industries – slipways, marine engineers, recreational and charter fishing vessels, marine survey, fishing and cray fishing all become possible once we have the harbour entrance operational and the infrastructure to support it.
The marine farm alone is a great opportunity for the District. Add to this the many other industries associated with the redevelopment and together they will contribute to a fantastic economic future for Opotiki.”
Note: A public meeting will be held on 10 July at 5pm at the Memorial Park Sports Pavilion, Opotiki outline the Opotiki District Councils ‘20/20 Vision’ – the economic development strategy and to provide an update on the Harbour Redevelopment Project and Aquaculture activities.
June 2013 - Update on Bay of Plenty Regional Council Regional Infrastructure Fund application.
On Tuesday night our team did a presentation to the due diligence team considering applications to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council Regional Infrastructure fund.
Mayor John Forbes, CEO Aileen Lawrie, Project Manager John Galbraith, councillor Selby Fisher, Aquaculture project manager Ian Craig and Whakatohea Maori Trustboard member Arihia Tuoro did a two hour presentation and question session on our application for $20m for the Opotiki Transformation Project.
We will be finalising our application to central government for the remainder of the funding later this year.
April 2013 - Facebook post featuring underwater footage from sea farm
On 4 April the following release was pasted on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OpotikiDistrictCouncil which includes underwater footage of the Opotiki Marine Farm.
Go directly to the footage here: http://youtu.be/I8SkeHZyci4
The joint Opotiki Marine Farm and Harbour Development projects are significant locally, regionally and nationally and will:
· Produce a unique, clean green product, and a spat catch which the industry ...requires nationally
· Enable an opportunity for a new Māori brand based on cultural and environmental sustainability
· Contribute significantly to GDP, conservatively estimated at $41million-$55million
· Create 320 to 450 full time equivalent jobs
The Opotiki Harbour Development is the enabler, and will realise a high benefit to cost ratio by creating over $7 for every $1 invested in it.
Picture: Opotiki District Council CEO Aileen Lawrie and Mayor John Forbes signed an application this week to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council Infrastructure Fund for $20m to part fund the Opotiki Harbour Transformation project. We have been working towards opening up our harbour for over a decade to enable an aquaculture industry and to grow other marine industries and opportunities for the benefit of our district and region. A decision will be made by the regional council some time in April. We will then be approaching central government for the rest of the required funding. 5 February 2013.