Historic wharves closed amid safety concerns
Safety barriers are going up at the Tokomaru Bay and Hicks Bay wharves. General Manager Tairawhiti Roads Dave Hadfield says both wharves are old and deteriorated significantly since Cyclones Debbie and Cook.
“This is a last resort,” says Dave, “but the big danger is that someone could get injured.”
The barriers will be placed near the start of the Hicks Bay Wharf, and at the end of the Tokomaru Bay Wharf, where the structure has slumped. There are already signs in place informing the public that both structures are unsafe to walk on, but these have largely been ignored. It is not the first time the 2 wharves have been closed to pedestrian access.
Efforts are underway in the Tokomaru Bay community to restore the wharf.
The Tokomaru Bay Wharf is registered Category 2 with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.
According to the Tokomaru Bay Heritage Site Project feasibility study, Waima had a wharf and small jetty at nearby Te Ariuru when the freezing works opened in 1911. That wharf was extended that same year to allow for larger vessels to dock at what was becoming a main port of call for coastal shipping.
Major improvements were made to the wharf in 1914. However, since then it has fallen into disrepair bolstered in the mid 1990s when boat builder Wayne Rickard and a few friends replaced the decking across some of the most treacherous gaping holes.
The Hicks Bay Wharf was upgraded in 1920 when the local freezing works was built, however it wasn’t long before the works were out of business.
Tokomaru Bay Wharf
Excerpt from the Chief Executive's December report on both wharves.
Engineers’ estimates have been provided to the Tokomaru Bay Wharf Trust. The Trust are developing applications to funding providers to fund the restoration works. The Tokomaru Bay wharf barriers have also been reassessed in light of the engineers’ reports. New fence type barriers will be installed prior to summer to stop access onto the deteriorating wooden section of the wharf.
Hicks Bay Wharf
Staff have continued to meet with the community to discuss what the future options are for the wharf. A local working group has been working to investigate options and support has been shown to develop a new wooden walkway out to the existing concrete end. Designs and costings are being developed for community input. The community have signalled that they may be keen to use their community township funding to go towards the costs of a new walkway.
Tokomaru Bay Wharf closed at the end