Construction multi-million dollar Opotiki harbour infrastructure project is underway.
The government is investing more than $112 million in three major infrastructure projects as part of the Opotiki Harbour Development.
The revitalisation project focuses on creating new harbour infrastructure that enables all weather, all tide access in and out of the harbour. The existing harbour entrance is limited to smaller boats, which can only cross the bar in good conditions.
The project is crucial to developing the off-shore aquaculture industry in the eastern Bay, and to unlock wider potential for other marine industries
"The community can now celebrate progress on a project that has been a priority for this region for 20 years yet failed to win support in the past. The harbour and aquaculture development will unlock the region’s potential and drive the local economic recovery," says regional development minister Stuart Nash.
"This funding is significant. It includes $79.4 million for the Opotiki Harbour development, $24.85 million for aquaculture development and a mussel processing factory, and $8.8 million for new marine and industrial infrastructure.
"The combination of community-led development and government support is building the infrastructure and workforce needed to make sustainable change to the region’s economic fortunes. Opotiki has high levels of deprivation and around 44 per cent of people have incomes under $20,000.
“The harbour construction project is the latest government-supported project to get underway in Opotiki.
“In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, additional investment offered new opportunities for Opotiki and for worker redeployment initiatives,” says Nash.
“This has resulted in upgrades to important community assets such as five marae, a war memorial, roads, footpaths, cycle trails, horse trails, parks, playgrounds, green spaces and seismic strengthening of council buildings.”
More than 1225 direct jobs are expected to be created in the Opotiki district through Provincial Development Unit-managed investment alone.
"Many of the people working on these projects are now moving on to aquaculture-related construction projects and today’s event provided an opportunity to celebrate the success of this community investment and its contribution to the town’s wider development,"
World demand for seafood is increasing rapidly, and according to UN statistics, it shows no signs of slowing down.
The World Bank predicts aquaculture will supply more than 60 per cent of the fish we eat by 2030.
Opotiki District Council say their down is poised to contribute, with 160 kilometres of coastline encompassing thousands of hectares of highly productive seawater that has the potential to support a sizable aquaculture industry.