CentrePort delays application for resource consent to dredge harbour

CentrePort's plans to dredge in Wellington Harbour have been put on hold due to the November 14 earthquake.
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CentrePort's plans to dredge in Wellington Harbour have been put on hold due to the November 14 earthquake.

CentrePort's plans to dredge more than 6 million cubic metres of sediment from Wellington Harbour have hit a snag due to the November 14 Kaikoura earthquake.

The port is hoping to gain resource consent to deepen a 7-kilometre channel for heavy sea traffic into the harbour, at a cost of between $37 million and $44m.

It says deepening of the channel is needed to accommodate new, larger ships expected to begin arriving in New Zealand.

The dredging plans will result in significantly less wave energy in some areas.

The dredging plans will result in significantly less wave energy in some areas.

But it is understood the project has been put on hold while the company recovers from the impact of the magnitude 7.8 quake.

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Several of CentrePort's buildings on Wellington's waterfront were damaged in the north Canterbury quake and it was forced to temporarily suspend operations.

A graphic showing the larger ships that will be able to enter Wellington Harbour if it is dredged by CentrePort.
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A graphic showing the larger ships that will be able to enter Wellington Harbour if it is dredged by CentrePort.

It hoped to resume work towards obtaining the resource consents next year.

That included investigating designs for the channel and assessing environmental impacts.

The dredging project includes removing sediment from the harbour floor and dumping it into the sea off Fitzroy Bay, just outside the harbour's entrance.

A 7km channel would be cut from the mouth, reaching 17.2 metres at its deepest point.

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The development would mean Wellington could handle ships carrying the equivalent of about 6000 containers, rather than the current limit of 4500.

But there are concerns about the environmental impact of the project.

The work would take place over the Waiwhetu aquifer, and was expected to have an effect on the underground water supply used for the Wellington region.

There was also expected to be about a 30 per cent reduction in wave height at Eastbourne, a popular spot for surfers.

CentrePort could not be reached for comment.

 - Stuff

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