Coromandel Harbour Project - Committee considering revised sediment testing programme 31 January 2014 A revised project plan for Coromandel Harbour Facilities involving an additional sediment sampling programme will be considered by Council's Economic Development Committee on 17 February. If approved, the sampling will take place soon after and the results and a revised concept will be reconsidered by Council to approve for public consultation in the following months. The need to develop better harbour facilities with all tide access has been talked about around the Coromandel community for many years. The project to consider development options is sponsored by the Coromandel-Colville Community Board and the full Council, both recognising the need to improve current facilities and the potential economic benefit to the wider district. "Our existing facilities are under severe pressure and are inadequate for current demand," says local Councillor Tony Brljevich. "This is causing significant congestion and health and safety problems at both the Sugarloaf wharf and Hannaford's jetty facilities. We also need to plan for future growth of both recreational and commercial activity on the harbour to satisfy community recreational needs and stimulate economic development in a sensible, affordable manner." Councils' intended role for this project is to undertake the initial planning and then facilitate on-going investment into the development of harbour facilities through public and private sector partnering. Any approved concept will need to be funded substantially by sources other than local rates to be viable and affordable to the ratepayer. Council has employed a consortium of consultants including specialists in marine sciences and engineering, resource planning and commercial analysis. Cranleigh was appointed as the lead; it is independent and has extensive skills in advising on large infrastructure and property development projects. Cranleigh is also the sponsor of the Coromandel’s annual K2 bike races and Cranleigh Kauri Run events. The feasibility study has assessed a range of site and facility options including channel dredging to Furey's creek and the extension of Coromandel wharf out to deep water. All of these options come at a high capital cost and will need to incorporate commercial opportunities to attract private sector investment and minimise cost to the ratepayer. To satisfy current and future demands any development also needs to cater for a range of users from trailer boats to charter boats and ideally passenger ferries. An extended Coromandel wharf alone will not cater for this range of activity and also lacks an adjoining land base for associated parking and support services. In December, Council was presented with the feasibility study findings including a recommendation to pursue a Furey's Creek concept option. Council decided that it needed more detailed investigation on the potential effects of dredging before approving this concept. Therefore the public meeting originally planned for February has been delayed to enable completion of this work. "This project is still at the early concept stage and we are not fixed on one option, but what is clear is that there are no easy or cheap options to solve the issues we have. There's still a lot of work to be done to give Council the confidence to proceed," says Mayor Leach. "Whilst the Furey's Creek concept offers the best multiuse option, we need to look at how this project will be funded in partnership with others," says Mayor Leach. "I was in Havelock recently and what they have achieved through the community, Councils, central government and industry working together should be applauded. It's a model for how all parties need to pull together to make good things happen for Coromandel." The environment will also be a top priority. Historic gold mining around the Coromandel Harbour has meant elevated levels of arsenic and mercury are found in sediment on the harbour floor. "If dredging of the harbour was to occur we need to know that it doesn't have any adverse effects," says Mayor Leach. "We also know that the harbour isn't pristine. If there is some way we can remediate the harbour to benefit the community, environment and economic development, it's worth investigating."