Harbour dredging consent brings long term certainty for Port Otago

Media Release - 21 June 2017

Harbour dredging consent brings long term certainty for Port Otago

Granting of a 25-year maintenance dredging and disposal consent for the Otago Harbour channel will allow Port Otago to cater for increasingly bigger ships on the New Zealand coast.

Geoff Plunket, outgoing Port Otago Chief Executive, said the latest dredging consent, granted by the Environment Court earlier this month, puts in place all the necessary consents required for maintenance and development dredging for the next 20-25 years.

Port Otago also recently secured a 20-year consent to deepen the channel to 15m, an integral part of the company’s Next Generation programme.

Mr Plunket said the original process had commenced in 2009 with the application to deepen the shipping channel to Port Chalmers. “This successful outcome serves to again underline the importance of positive community engagement and a willingness to adopt an environmentally responsible approach to dredging and disposal activities.

“The ability to deepen and maintain the shipping channel in Otago Harbour over the next 20 to 25 years means Port Otago can confidently meet the challenge of bigger ships on the New Zealand coast.  It can do this in an environmentally appropriate manner, with the support of the local community and backed by sound science.”

Key points -

  • Dredging in Otago Harbour has been taking place since 1865 and is essential to counteracting the natural tendency for the channel to in-fill
  • Capital dredging for the Next Generation project has required a new off-shore disposal site in addition to the three disposal grounds for inshore dredging,  including Heywards, Aramoana, and Shelly Beach
  • Disposal of dredge spoil to these three sites is an effective by-passing system for the sediment from south of Otago Peninsula trapped by the entrance channel and an efficient source of nourishment for the beaches adjacent to the sites and for beaches further north along the coast of Blueskin Bay
  • Consent was originally granted in February 2017. POL appealed one consent condition on the dredge plant size. ORC accepted the appeal and recommended that consent be granted by the Environment Court.

 - Ends -

For further information, please contact:

Geoff Plunket

Chief Executive

M: 021-229 8886

E: gplunket@portotago.co.nz