In August 2020 the government funded $8.2 million towards revamping the marine-servicing infrastructure and create new economic development opportunities.
This project is being supported from the $3 billion ‘shovel ready’ fund set aside in Budget 2020 to kick-start the post COVID-19 economic recovery.
This will not only support employment in the Thames township, it will also provide alternative marine-servicing options for vessels from the Hauraki Gulf, Coromandel, Tauranga, Auckland and Whangarei.
It will have immediate benefits for the local community by creating up to 13 jobs in the short-term. Another 19 jobs will be created through the precinct’s construction, with potential for up to 108 downstream jobs when the project is complete.
It is estimated that the Kōpū Marine Precinct could bring economic returns of up to $58.5 million over the next 30 years. It brings fresh opportunities to the boat repair and maintenance, aquaculture, trade and transport industries.
“We’re breaking out the bubbly to celebrate,” says Thames-Coromandel District Mayor Sandra Goudie. “Kōpū has been a prime site we’ve been promoting for business opportunities for some time and we’re grateful to the government for recognising the potential and opportunities this area has.”
“This is not just good news for us and our neighbours, but also in boosting potential Maori economic development opportunities for Ngati Maru in the longer term as Treaty settlements are finalised over the next few years.,” says Mayor Sandra. “This also complements the Te Ariki Wahi/Sugarloaf Wharf project, which also benefitted from Provincial Growth Funding (PGF) of $19.95million to expand the wharf for the marine industry, in a joint venture between our Council, the Coromandel Marine Farmers (CoroMFA) and the Crown.”
The $8,2million funding for Kōpū will go towards planning and construction of a new access road, upgraded boat ramp and car park. A floating pontoon and mud berth – which allows boats to rest on the seabed – will facilitate in-water servicing and dismantling.
While the project provides new commercial opportunities, it also features upgrades that will benefit recreational users and will enable the continued use of Kōpū by the community.
“Kōpū already has excellent connections to Tauranga, Auckland and Hamilton and a good foundation of existing marine-related businesses. This project will enhance and diversify local economic opportunities while improving the resilience of the marine industry
In December 2018 central government through the Provincial Growth Fund approved $270,000 towards a business case began investigating Kōpū as a centre to support marine servicing operations across the Hauraki Gulf, as well as being a connector for water-based tourism opportunities – connecting across the Hauraki Gulf as well as through to the Paeroa Wharf .
- This project sits within Council's wider "Productivity Plan" aimed at improving the economic outcomes for our District. Some of the outcomes of the is to produce tangible benefits for the community, including employment and improved use of Māori assets. It will focus on ensuring the protection and enhancement of our District’s natural features, while ensuring productive assets can be managed sustainably into the future, considering the potential effects of climate change.
- Through market research and feasibility testing, talking to Iwi, key stakeholders, users, marine construction industry and others, the business case provided a robust and realistic investment ready option at a level of detail that provides high degree of certainty. This included design plans, consenting information and on-going overhead costs.