Future of Tokomaru and Hicks Bay wharves to be consulted on
The wharves at Tokomaru and Hicks Bay are in a bad condition and pose a risk to the public who continue to use the structures. However at the moment council will not be closing them until the public and affected communities have been consulted on their future.
The deteriorating condition of the wharves was discussed at council’s Operations Committee meeting on Thursday. It was decided to include a proposal on the future of the wharves in next year's Annual Plan so that the wider public can have their say during consultation. Details of the proposal will be worked out in consultation with local hapu and community groups. Options are likely to include closing all or part of the wharves to the public permanently or restoring them so they are safe for people to walk on. Estimated costs for this are likely to be $2.5M for both wharves.
Tokomaru Bay resident Grant Dargie asked the committee to ensure local hapu Te Aotawarirangi are consulted before any decisions are made. Mr Dargie was assured that council was committed to working with affected communities to find the best solution. A Tokomaru Bay Wharf working party has recently been formed and has its next meeting at Te Ariuru Marae at the end of the month. “Our community needs the chance to get a full understanding of what is happening with the wharf before we can start contributing our thoughts on its future,” said Mr Dargie.
Council has reserved the right to close the wharves if there is an emergency such as an earthquake, tsunami or major storm. The wharves or parts of them will also be closed if erosion of the structure makes them unsafe for use.
Currently council has no funding allocated for repairs and so has no plans to do anything other than let the wharves fall in to the sea. Warning signs have been installed but these are largely ignored. Council will update the current signs on the wharves to ensure they have adequate information so the public can make informed decision on whether to walk on the wharf or not.
“Doing nothing is an increasingly high risk option for council. The rate of deterioration is increasing If we don’t close the wharves until they start to fall in to the sea the chance of someone getting hurt is high,” said land transport manager Dave Hadfield.