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The main players behind the Kōpū marine precinct’s development celebrate at the shovel ready ceremony last week. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

Shovels out for Kōpū marine precinct

It was an event worth rolling out the red carpet for as instrumental players in the development of the Kōpū marine precinct picked up a shovel to mark the start of its construction.
The long-awaited project, which includes a new commercial slipway and wharf, pontoon, public recreational boat ramp, and parking area, will kick off with civil works in October, and is scheduled to be finished by April, 2024.
At a shovel ready ceremony at the site last week, Thames-Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie said the precinct would be beneficial to Thames, the district, and the wider Waikato region.
“I’m just so grateful for the fact that we can be here and be in such a beautiful place in an environment that we absolutely love; being with our sea, with our sky, and with the land, forest, and bush that surrounds us.
“I feel so privileged to be a part of this,” she said. “We have food, family, and friends in abundance and none of us are having to duck for cover.”
The Mayor – who will hang up her chains following next month’s local body elections – thanked the Government’s Kānoa Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit (previously the Provincial Growth Unit) for its $8.2 million investment into the project.
She also thanked the precinct’s contractors, advocates, and supporters.
“This is very exciting. Finally, we’re here. The only sad part is it’s taken so bloody long to get here,” she said. “I just wish all of the processes weren’t so time-consuming and costly, but we did it, and it’s been an extraordinary effort.”
Coromandel MP Scott Simpson was also in attendance, alongside Hauraki Mayor Toby Adams, and shared Mayor Goudie’s sentiments.
“In my time as a Member of Parliament, this project has been talked about, literally since the time I got elected,” he said.
“For pretty much all of us, from the very first moment this proposal, this plan, this concept was put to us, we would nod very quickly and say: ‘Yeah, it makes sense’. A decade later, we find ourselves here.
“If there’s one lesson out of this, we’ve got to be able to do good projects faster.”
The shovel ready ceremony began with a blessing and karakia by Ngāti Maru’s Eru Wilton and was followed by a tour through Kōpū Engineering.
The major contracts for the precinct, off Queen St in Kōpū, have been awarded to Fulton Hogan, who will start roading (civil works) in October, and Heron Construction for the maritime infrastructure.
Council said local subcontractors would be used as much as possible throughout the build.