The Mercury Bay Community Board is looking at the long-term future of the Whitianga Esplanade Waterfront from the existing marina through to the Whitianga Wharf. The area has many high demands from a lot of different activities happening at the same time. This is causing conflict between the different users, and raising health and safety issues. The uses include the ferry, tourist and charter boats, leisure boat launching, the children’s playground, commercial fishing boats and their servicing, recreational fishing and other activities. Children using the playground right next to the boat ramp have to cross the ramp access to get to the public toilets. Also, ferry users are walking through commercial activities on the wharf and recreational vehicles at the boat ramp. Additional capacity is needed for tourist and charter boats, which are restricted to the current operators because of a lack of wharf space. Before COVID, tourist numbers were growing and, with the borders re-opening, this is certain to happen again. Tourism is one of the mainstays of the local economy, so we need to make sure there is extra berthage for more boats. While the Mercury Bay Community Board has undertaken some work on the feasibility of dealing with the issue, it is very much still at the beginning of the process to work out what will be required. The Board is committed to working with key partners, stakeholders and the wider community to find the best possible solution. To this end, it is proposing an advisory group be set up with the two key partners, Ngāti Hei and the Whitianga Marina Society. The area is culturally significant and links with the aspirations of Ngāti Hei to engage in cultural tourism initiatives and also links closely with the waterfront area occupied by the marina. See the 13 July 2022 Mercury Bay Community Board meeting agenda for a summary of the investigations carried out so far, and potential next steps.