$7.3 million wharf refurbishment will see Pt Howard Wharf demolished

Tommy Tomasi was unaware of plans to demolish the Pt Howard Wharf.  A regular angler, Tomasi targets kahawai but said ...
NICHOLAS BOYACK/ FAIRFAX NZ

Tommy Tomasi was unaware of plans to demolish the Pt Howard Wharf. A regular angler, Tomasi targets kahawai but said the fishing is not easy. The wharf behind him is used by tankers and anglers have no access.

Tommy Tomasi relies on the kahawai he catches off the Pt Howard Wharf to put food on the table.

He was saddened to hear Pt Howard is to get the chop as part of a $7.3 million Hutt City Council plan to refurbish Lower Hutt's four wharves.

Tomasi and partner Sina Polua fish there about once a week. Although the fishing is hard, Tomasi said it was better than sitting on the couch watching TV.

Rony Les makes Cambodian curries with the fish he gets off the Pt Howard Wharf.
NICHOLAS BOYACK/ FAIRFAX NZ

Rony Les makes Cambodian curries with the fish he gets off the Pt Howard Wharf.

"It is a good place to come and spend time and get some fish, and save some money. If we catch no fish we have nothing to eat."

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He was unaware of plans to demolish the wharf. 

A freshly caught red cod on the Pt Howard Wharf.
FAIRFAX NZ

A freshly caught red cod on the Pt Howard Wharf.

Rony Les was also a once-a-week angler. Like Tomasi, he mostly catches kahawai. Originally from Cambodia, he makes fish curry with anything he can catch.

Councillors agreed to demolish the wharf at a annual plan meeting on Thursday.

Timber from Pt Howard will be used to help with the refurbishment of the other wharves, which are all in poor condition.

Mayor Ray Wallace urged council officers to delay demolishing Pt Howard for as long as possible.

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It was used by anglers and, with the popular Petone Wharf closed, due to earthquake damage, there was no urgent need to demolish Pt Howard, he said.

The Lowry Bay Yacht Club has a starters' box on the wharf, and the council would speak to the club about finding an alternative site.

The council is investigating building fishing platforms near the Seaview Marina.

Pt Howard was formerly used as a tanker terminal and was acquired by council at the time of the 1989 local government amalgamation.

Most of the debate centred around the future of the Petone Wharf.

Parks manager Bruce Hodgins argued the 393-metre wharf should be shortened by 50m. Its main use was for fishing and, even at 340m, it would still be a long wharf.

Councillor Tui Lewis argued it should be retained and fully refurbished.

Petone was becoming an increasingly popular destination and, with the council encouraging apartments, it was important to have plenty of recreational space, she said.

Councillor Michael Lulich said he had grown up fishing off the wharf  with his father. It was an "iconic" part of Petone and he opposed shortening it. "Once it is lost, we will never get it back."

Councillor Chris Milne said he could not see the point of spending $1.2 million on retaining Eastbourne's Rona Bay Wharf. Public submissions favoured its removal and he said the council could make much better use of the money.

Hodgins said the wharf was highly regarded in Eastbourne and was also a heritage structure listed in the District Plan.

Councillors agreed to shorten and restore Petone Wharf, demolish Pt Howard and refurbish Day Bay and Rona Bay.

They asked for expert advice on the impact any work on the wharves would have on the aquifer.

During submissions it was told that removing piles cold damage the aquifer and risk saltwater contamination.

 - Stuff

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