Green light for harbour works

Commissioners say there are significant positive effects from the proposals

Commissioners say there are significant positive effects from the proposals

Subject to a number of conditions, the port has a group of consents granted to redevelop wharves six and seven, with associated dredging works, and to demolish the slipway in the harbour basin.

The written decision of the three independent commissioners follows hearings in May at which the applications were opposed by iwi groups, residents of apartment buildings across the river and the Gisborne Rail Group.

The commissioners say there are significant positive effects from the proposals.

“The slipway is a derelict structure that if not either reconstructed or demolished, will start falling to bits. Demolishing it will avoid such future adverse effects,” they said.

Wharves six and seven looked robust but when viewed from a boat beneath, it was clear they were reaching the end of their serviceable life.

“While they may last some years, we think it is essential they are replaced soon so the safety of people and vehicles using the wharves is not put in jeopardy.

“This is one significant positive effect. The other is that by allowing the tug to berth at wharf six, Eastland Port will be able to significantly increase its capacity for wharves seven and eight.

“Similarly, it could allow wharf eight to be reconstructed to handle container vessels, which is desirable given the increased horticultural activities in the district.

“These positive effects will flow through to the wider community of the Gisborne district,” the decision says.

A number of significant issues were raised during the hearing, including the effect on the juvenile crayfish hatchery at the port and cultural issues, as well as noise.

The commissioners say the applicant’s proposals to mitigate the effect on the juvenile crayfishery by the creation of artificial habitat slightly offshore should adequately mitigate the effects of the loss of habitat beneath wharf seven.

One significant concern that did come to light was that the Mediterranean fanworm had been discovered in the port in 2015.

It was inevitable that the disposal of sediment would spread fanworm to offshore waters. Given this, they saw no need to decline or otherwise limit the applicant’s proposal to dispose of sediment offshore.

The commissioners say tangata whenua will be part of a forum in which they can resolve matters relating to cultural values at the port.

Cultural considerations relating to the port area were given particular attention in the application, and the decisions and from the submissions made by various tangata whenua groups through the conditions of the consents.

The applicant had accepted some conditions that went beyond the commissioners’ ability to impose.

They said it was not clear how the current proposals affected the cone of vision. Concerns related to present activities and compliance with the regional plan were a matter for Gisborne District Council as part of its regional plan.

A major concern by submitters was the disruption caused by noise, and heavy trucks and trailers taking logs to and from the port.

The commissioners had walked over the bridge and around the apartments on the other side.

However, they thought there were steps that Eastland Port could follow to reduce the number of logging trucks on local roads. In particular, it was likely that double handling could be more effectively minimised.

The concerns raised by submitters had been taken into account and the proposal was consistent with the Tairawhiti Resource Management Plan, the commissioners said.

Subject to a number of conditions, the port has a group of consents granted to redevelop wharves six and seven, with associated dredging works, and to demolish the slipway in the harbour basin.

The written decision of the three independent commissioners follows hearings in May at which the applications were opposed by iwi groups, residents of apartment buildings across the river and the Gisborne Rail Group.

The commissioners say there are significant positive effects from the proposals.

“The slipway is a derelict structure that if not either reconstructed or demolished, will start falling to bits. Demolishing it will avoid such future adverse effects,” they said.

Wharves six and seven looked robust but when viewed from a boat beneath, it was clear they were reaching the end of their serviceable life.

“While they may last some years, we think it is essential they are replaced soon so the safety of people and vehicles using the wharves is not put in jeopardy.

“This is one significant positive effect. The other is that by allowing the tug to berth at wharf six, Eastland Port will be able to significantly increase its capacity for wharves seven and eight.

“Similarly, it could allow wharf eight to be reconstructed to handle container vessels, which is desirable given the increased horticultural activities in the district.

“These positive effects will flow through to the wider community of the Gisborne district,” the decision says.

A number of significant issues were raised during the hearing, including the effect on the juvenile crayfish hatchery at the port and cultural issues, as well as noise.

The commissioners say the applicant’s proposals to mitigate the effect on the juvenile crayfishery by the creation of artificial habitat slightly offshore should adequately mitigate the effects of the loss of habitat beneath wharf seven.

One significant concern that did come to light was that the Mediterranean fanworm had been discovered in the port in 2015.

It was inevitable that the disposal of sediment would spread fanworm to offshore waters. Given this, they saw no need to decline or otherwise limit the applicant’s proposal to dispose of sediment offshore.

The commissioners say tangata whenua will be part of a forum in which they can resolve matters relating to cultural values at the port.

Cultural considerations relating to the port area were given particular attention in the application, and the decisions and from the submissions made by various tangata whenua groups through the conditions of the consents.

The applicant had accepted some conditions that went beyond the commissioners’ ability to impose.

They said it was not clear how the current proposals affected the cone of vision. Concerns related to present activities and compliance with the regional plan were a matter for Gisborne District Council as part of its regional plan.

A major concern by submitters was the disruption caused by noise, and heavy trucks and trailers taking logs to and from the port.

The commissioners had walked over the bridge and around the apartments on the other side.

However, they thought there were steps that Eastland Port could follow to reduce the number of logging trucks on local roads. In particular, it was likely that double handling could be more effectively minimised.

The concerns raised by submitters had been taken into account and the proposal was consistent with the Tairawhiti Resource Management Plan, the commissioners said.

Consents a ‘first step in unlocking the port’s potential’

OBTAINING resource consent to rebuild wharfs six and seven, and reshape the slipway, is confirmation Eastland Port is doing the right thing in future-proofing the port for forestry, coastal shipping and international trade, says general manager Andrew Gaddum.

He was commenting on a decision by independent commissioners granting the port’s applications for the wharves and slipway.

“We’re unlocking the port’s potential so it’s a source of opportunity for this district and this is one of the first steps.”

The two wharves were more than 60 years old and no longer up to task.

Originally built for fishing boats, wharf 6 will be used to berth Eastland Port tugs, and, in the future, help accommodate 200m log vessels at wharf 7. Wharf 7 will be rebuilt stronger to meet the demands of increasing vessel weights.

“The slipway needs to be made smaller so we can safely manoeuvre two 200m vessels in port at once,” said Mr Gaddum.

Both consent applications are part of a larger project known as the twin berth development, allowing two 200m ships to be parked in port at the same time.

“The consent process was robust and we have come out with a workable solution.”

“The city’s port is the essential last step in a forestry boom that’s helping our district flourish.

“It is literally the last port of call for an industry that’s employing thousands of people and generating income and business across the region. The nature of a port is that it must change and respond to the needs of regional industry, so that’s what we are doing.”

Mr Gaddum said he was proud to be overseeing port growth at a time when environmental issues were so closely monitored under consent conditions.

“The port and our staff are focused on operating within an environment everyone can be proud of.”

Eastland Port looked forward to its continuing relationship with iwi, safeguarding the area’s cultural heritage and ecosystems in and around the port.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you support the new identity and wellbeing focus of Trust Tairawhiti (formerly Eastland Community Trust)?