A plan for a more resilient Cook Strait ferry network has taken a step forward with the announcement that Kaiwharawhara is being considered as the preferred site for a potential new multi-user ferry terminal.
The recommendation to further investigate Kaiwharawhara was made in a programme business case by project partners CentrePort, NZTA, KiwiRail, StraitNZ Bluebridge, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Wellington City Council. It will be considered by all partners, with Greater Wellington considering the recommendation at its Council meeting on 21 August and Wellington City Council at its meeting on 5 September.
Eight potential sites were considered against stringent criteria. Kaiwharawhara and King’s Wharf made the shortlist, but Kaiwharawhara will now undergo further structural and resilience engineering feasibility studies.
“Kaiwharawhara ticks many of the boxes so far, but we have a long way to go before we can make a decision on this once-in-a-lifetime investment,” says Greater Wellington Economic Development Portfolio Lead, Cr Roger Blakeley.
CentrePort GM Ferries and Bulk Andrew Steele said good progress is being made in developing a major asset for not just Wellington, but New Zealand.
“We are working with our partners to ensure delivery of an improved experience for travellers and tourists. We are also focused on ensuring the project outcome fits within the Wellington urban environment and delivers transport and logistics supply chain connectivity to benefit the regional and national economy.”
Wellington City Council’s Chief City Planner David Chick says “Kaiwharawhara is a logical location. It would allow for co-located and more resilient ferry infrastructure and freight services. As a harbour city, marine infrastructure is a crucial part of our economic growth and resilience. We can expect more visitors to the city and further investment opportunities, with Wellington’s 30-year population growth projections showing a rise of 50-80,000 over the next 30 years.”
Next steps will be to commission further structural and resilience engineering feasibility studies to underpin decisions on investment in the site. Key issues will be ground strengthening, seismic design of terminals and wharves to keep them open and functioning in a major event, and new transport links to the rail network and Hutt Road.
The project partners will also consider programme governance and structure for ongoing phases of the project.
“We have a long way to go but this is the beginning of a very exciting journey. From its completion in 2028 we expect the new terminal to deliver significant benefits to the region through generating jobs, increasing passenger and freight throughput and injecting hundreds of millions annually into the regional economy,” says Roger Blakeley.