Plea for joint response to port move plan

The three councils in the top of the South Island need to work together on the Government's proposal to move the interisland port from Picton to Clifford Bay, says Nelson city councillor Eric Davy.

He said he would attend the Marlborough District Council-organised public meeting in Picton, one of three organised by the council to assess public feeling towards the Government's proposal to move the port from Picton to Clifford Bay, south of Seddon.

His attendance would be a private one, not as a Nelson city councillor, Mr Davy said, but he intended to report back to the council about it to assess if the council needed to take an official position on Clifford Bay.

"I have had discussions with the mayor that we need to look at this, because of the consequences to council from extra costs imposed on all our freight and extra costs imposed on our visitors to make it to Nelson from Clifford Bay. That's my concern really."

Mr Davy said he would like the three councils in the top of the South Island - Marlborough District Council, Nelson City Council, and Tasman District Council - to get together to discuss the proposal. "I believe the three councils should get together and do something. I believe it will have serious consequences for us."

Nelson Economic Development Agency chief executive Bill Findlater said the agency had a concern about any detrimental effect on the top of the south.

"You can't separate Nelson from Marlborough, or Marlborough from Nelson. We're intrinsically linked, whether we like it or not."

He said the agency did not know what effect the Clifford Bay proposal would have on Nelson, or the top of the south.

"We're a little bit in the dark. There's certainly a lot of interest in what would happen, because there would be some effect."

The agency had asked consultant and former Nelson Harbour Board general manager Stuart Hughes to prepare a report for the Nelson City Council on ferries, due to be completed by the end of the month.

The report was commissioned in light of Mr Davy's promotion of a new Nelson-North Island ferry link. It would take a preliminary look at the feasibility of a ferry linking Nelson with Wellington "or any other part of the North Island". "It is not peculiar to Clifford Bay, but it does feature in it."

Port Nelson chief executive Martin Byrne said the port company was not involved in any of the discussions the Ministry of Transport has called for in the coming weeks about moving the Picton terminal. He did not think moving the terminal to Clifford Bay would have a major effect on Port Nelson.

The Nelson Mail