Tucked into the public notice section of Eastern Bay newspapers is a small notice letting locals know that work would begin on construction of Ōpōtiki Harbour in the coming weeks.

Ōpōtiki Mayor, Lyn Riesterer said that the construction of a work site was the natural next step but she didn’t want it to “pass unmarked”.

“For so many years, we have been talking about this project as a future ambition. For me, this construction notice and the work on the site will be the point at which I change how I talk about and think about this life-changing project. The future is now – Ōpōtiki’s harbour entrance has become a very real project with boots on the ground and machinery building our seawalls. It is a small but significant milestone that the Ōpōtiki public can celebrate together,” Mayor Riesterer said. 

Ōpōtiki Harbour Project Manager, John Galbraith, confirmed the two key contractors: Waiotahi Contractors Ltd to construct the Ōpōtiki Harbour access roads and HEB Construction Ltd to design and build the Ōpōtiki Harbour Infrastructure.

“The construction site will be one of the key bases of operations and there will be a lot of activity on the site in the coming months and years. It is accessed from the end of Snell Road and will be fenced off for security but we do ask that the public is extra careful around the area with the large machinery that will be operating.

“While this site will be the base of operations for the coming years of harbour construction, works will be broken up into several phases. The initial phase, starting at the end of June will be the enabling works – preparing the work site and stockpiling some of the material, setting up the site offices and so on. We will mark the start of this work with a site blessing in the week of 23 June.

“Rock supply from local quarries will commence once the access roads are in place and will continue through to mid-2022. Some initial foundation construction work will commence in August this year when a large crane will be seen operating on the spit and the main construction works will start mid-2021, with a projected completion date of mid to late 2023,” Mr Galbraith said.

The public are asked to take care in the area when accessing the beach from Snell’s Road.