The revitalisation will enable better utilisation of the traditional Whanganui port area and new Marine Precinct for boat servicing. It will improve the aesthetic appearance of the area, making it attractive to current and new users, creating jobs and training opportunities for local people.
It includes significant physical work to remediate and refurbish the two historic wharves which were built in the early 1900s. It also includes new infrastructure for launching boats and undertaking maintenance, dredging tools, building repairs and deconstruction of derelict structures.
Upon completion Whanganui will have a purpose-built marine precinct including 2,000 square metres of vessel maintenance hardstand, a 300 tonne mobile boat hoist, staged dredging of the port basin to support around 400 metres of rebuilt wharves, along with new vessel building facilities for Q-West boat builders.
To protect these developments and critical inner city infrastructure from flooding, both moles and other river training structures will be repaired, by Horizons Regional Council, to control the alignment of the river. An onsite employment precinct will also be established to provide specialist training and upskilling, connecting local people to local jobs.
As well as making the river entrance safer for vessels entering and departing, the project also takes into consideration protection of the health, well-being and function of the Whanganui River.
The entrance to Whanganui River is considered challenging by boaties and sea captains. There are several ways that the swell can be reduced or mitigated by dissipating waves. The funding announced by the Provincial Development Unit includes a co-funded project to reinstate the man-made structure on the southern side of the river, known as the Tanae Bank. This feature helps to calm the water, which will benefit the boat ramp and public areas as well as the new proposed marine works.
Options for managing the channel which provides vessel access to the wharves will include dredging, which will manage the ongoing deposition of sediment within the lower river areas.
The boat ramp and associated car parking will be retained so that small vessels can access the river and the Tasman Sea. Whanganui District Council will consider longer term upgrades to the parking areas in future Long-Term Plans.
As well as being a working port, this is an important waterfront space that is valued by the Whanganui community. The Mountains to Sea Cycleway will detour around the redeveloped port. The construction of the cycleway will promote local recreation, and tourism based ventures.