Major upgrade at port
Eastland Port is preparing for the most extensive infrastructure upgrades and developments it has seen in more than 100 years, to help support, future-proof and grow the economy of Tairawhiti.
The cornerstone of this is the Twin Berth project, Eastland Port's major redevelopment project to expand the port's marine infrastructure. It will allow for two Handymax (150-200m long) ships to be berthed at once, and meet the needs of the region's thriving industries.
“While logs are our primary export today, we want to create a coastal container terminal to expand the options for exporters, enabling more types of goods to be exported and imported via the blue highway,” says chief operating officer Andrew Gaddum.
“Since we first engaged with the community on these plans, several years ago, we've worked through details with local hapu, iwi and other key stakeholders and have made a number of significant changes to accommodate and reflect their feedback.”
Stage one of the port redevelopment will begin this summer.
Major maintenance, repairs and upgrades for the slipway are due to begin early in 2021.
Construction work will involve removing the old rusted sheet pile wall, strengthening the river training wall, reshaping the slipway edge and armouring it with large rock boulders to stop any further erosion and enhance the habitat for juvenile crayfish and marine invertebrates.
The second project, to rebuild Wharf 7, will begin in the second quarter of 2021. The wharf was built in the 1960s and is at the end of its economic life and in need of replacement.
Contractors will demolish and then rebuild Wharf 7 so it is strong enough for mobile harbour cranes to operate on it, and provide a stronger, more resilient lifeline asset for Tairawhiti.
Next year a second resource consent application will be lodged by the port which will encompass the second stage of the Twin Berth development. This consent will cover the extension of the existing Wharf 8 structure; about 1.5 hectares of reclamation; dredging the channel and harbour deeper and upgrading the stormwater treatment systems in the Southern Log Yard.
It will also cover the rebuild of the existing outer breakwater structure.
“We are just starting the consultation process on this consent, as a follow-on from our Stage 1 consenting process,” Mr Gaddum says.
“The proposal is still being developed, but if you have any views on this, we'd like to hear from you. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow the Eastland Port Facebook page.
“As the designs are developed further, we'll let you know what this looks like in detail, how the environmental impacts will be managed and what the wider benefits to the Tairawhiti region will be.
“Community engagement is a key part of this process and we plan to create plenty of opportunity to comment on the plans and provide feedback.”
The port is also carrying on with a range of environmental initiatives that will continue to help improve the land and water that surrounds it.
These include the installation of more stormwater treatment plants so the entire port is covered in the future. Two award-winning innovative treatment systems have already been installed on port to minimise the effects of run-off from the port landside operations.
An electric water truck is coming soon to be used for watering and dust suppression. Co-funded with a grant from the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, the all-electric truck will take over the tasks of the traditional diesel-powered truck.
“It will help reduce noise levels and will be a substantial step towards significantly cutting our emissions and meeting our responsibilities as part of the Climate Leaders Coalition,” Mr Gaddum says.
Other projects coming up include a new coastal access path beginning in early 2021, which will allow pedestrians to walk from Kaiti Beach and around the seaward side of the log yard to the reefs beyond. It will also include steps to the ocean, seating areas and fishing facilities.
This is being developed for recreational use and will also link up via the car park to the Turanga Track which Eastland Port built and opened earlier this year.
The sea wall will also be repaired, as it is essential that it continues to protect the port from Mother Nature.
The port is looking at options to replace the recently removed piers 4 and 5. If there is enough demand to support building them, bespoke piers will be able to accommodate heavy duty commercial boats and pleasure vessels.
Eastland Port will continue to keep the public updated as the projects progress and there will be plenty of opportunities to provide feedback and ideas.
“Soon we'll also be sharing our vision for the next 10 years and beyond — as we work together with hapu, iwi, customers, tenants, the community, stakeholders and our staff to support Tairawhiti's growth and wellbeing for many decades to come.”