Health and Safety improvements made at Sugarloaf Wharf 28 February 2014 Aquaculture and recreational fishing interests are being separated at Sugarloaf Wharf at Te Kouma to improve health and safety practices. Aquaculture and recreational fishing are the two consented activities for this facility. Signage and designated road markings have been introduced at the Wharf and wardens have also been appointed to carry out regular hazard checks and assessments. "We've introduced these measures due to the growth of commercial and charter operators who are using the Wharf along with recreational fishers," says Council Project Manager Greg Hampton. "We needed to ensure there parameters around parking and berthing of craft to prevent any accidents occurring around this facility," says Mr Hampton. "These new measures will now give everyone a better understanding around allocated areas of use and responsibilities, on and around the Wharf," he says. The Aquaculture industry will continue to be responsible for reporting any health and safety incidences to Council. Meanwhile our Council is working with charter operators around consents and compliance use at the Wharf while parking issues will be assessed through our upcoming Bylaw Review. To find out more about our Bylaw Review click here Coromandel Harbour Facilities Project update Councils Economic Development Committee was tasked by Council to review the Coromandel Harbour Facilities project plan including whether there was a need to conduct further sediment testing to better understand dredging effects at this stage of the project. This follows the delivery of the milestone two feasibility study in December The full range of facility and site options was also presented to the Committee. This included the project team recommended option to examine development of an all-tide access facility at Furey's Creek allowing the potential for an Auckland fast- ferry service direct to town, which will have economic benefits across the Coromandel. "To make an informed decision around any further concept development at Furey's Creek, along with the environmental and ecological impact this would have, we need to have more details around the costs for dredging and results from sediment testing," says Mayor Glenn Leach. "These details weren't available at our last Council meeting in December, so we asked for that, along with some input from our Economic Development Committee who's first meeting was scheduled in February," says Mayor Leach. The Committee heard that the costs for sediment testing, including a geophysical study, sampling programme and lab analysis could cost up to $350,000 and take 18 weeks to deliver. This work may also not necessarily provide a definitive answer to the impact of dredging and is also pre-emptive considering that Council has yet to approve a final preferred option. A full assessment of environmental effects is also required at resource consent stage. The Committee has now recommended to Council that a business case proceed for Furey's Creek, without any sediment testing programme being committed to right now. Instead a proposed desktop study looking at techniques on how to manage sediment will help identify costs and the best methodology for the Furey's Creek option. Expansion options for Sugarloaf Wharf will also be included in the final assessment as a possible way forward on this project. Council will discuss those recommendations at its meeting on 12 March. "We want to reiterate that we are in very early days of this project," says Mayor Leach. "There is a lot of additional research and detailed investigative work to be done. So far we've only had early stage introductory consultation with stakeholders. When we have more detail and a sound concept plan we most definitely will be meeting with the public," says the Mayor. The initial consultation conducted project introduction discussions with a range of stakeholders including the high level concept for the Furey's creek option. Patukiriri Iwi has not committed any level of support for the Furey's creek concept contrary to a previous report. To find out more about the Coromandel Harbour Facilities Project click here. To find out more about Council's Economic Development committee click here Maintenance Dredging at Furey's Creek. Meanwhile consented and planned maintenance dredging at Furey's Creek starts in March. "This regular maintenance work is required to ensure there's access to the Jack's Point and Furey's Creek boat ramps, haul out areas and jetties," says Project Manager Greg Hampton. This dredging is not part of the Coromandel Harbour Facilities project. Around 800m3 of sediment will be dredged whereas the amount being estimated for dredging in the Coromandel Harbour Facilities Project is about 120,000m3. "We've had consents to dredge the approach to Furey's Creek for accessibility in the past and this consent is for the same purpose," says Mr Hampton. "Dredging will improve access to Furey's Creek boat ramp for recreational craft. This will help take pressure off the Sugarloaf facility and also provide an improved and convenient launching facility close to town." The cost for dredging is being funded in part by the Jacks Point Boating Association, with the balance coming from Council's Harbour maintenance budget.