Paihia Waterfront Development – Project Presentation

Paihia Waterfront Development – The Facts

FACT: FNHL is facilitating this project on behalf of FNDC, and will not benefit financially from doing so.

The project is being funded by both the Provincial Growth Fund and FNDC, in order to protect and enhance Paihia’s waterfront, for the benefit of Far North ratepayers. FNHL does not stand to profit from facilitating this project.

The breakwaters will protect Paihia’s waterfront infrastructure, much of which is, directly and indirectly, responsible for the economic wellbeing of thousands of families across the district.

FACT: FNHL is not planning to build a marina at Paihia.

Even though the original consent allowed for an extension of the Paihia Wharf to include what is known as the Eastern Attenuator, we’re not planning to build a marina at Paihia.

If any additional berths are required in the future, to meet either commercial or recreational demand, this would be applied for through a notified application to NRC which the community would be able to submit to and comment on. But this is not being pursued as part of the current plan.

The only structures included in this project are the breakwaters, groynes, beaches and waterfront recreational features we have presented to the community.

To view the only plan of what is included in this project, click here.

FACT: FNHL is not planning to build commercial property on reclaimed land on Paihia’s waterfront.

We understand the confusion caused by the originally consented plan being circulated, but the reclamation is not part of the current Paihia Waterfront Project, despite being part of the original consent.

Reclamation of land just south of the Maritime Building was proposed by some within the community, who saw an opportunity for an already-consented reclamation to be delivered alongside the Paihia Waterfront Project as a community-led and funded initiative.

Their idea was that the reclaimed land would be used as a recreational area, and control over this land would remain with the community. We were supportive of this approach and provided a written undertaking that should the reclamation proceed on this basis, we would not build any new commercial buildings on the reclaimed land.

This proposal has generated considerable debate within the community, so we want to make it clear we will only support such an initiative if and when the community can present us with a clear mandate to go ahead. The burden of proof of such a mandate will be very high, in other words, it must be absolutely clear that the community supports this before it goes ahead.

To view the only plan of what is included in this project, click here.

FACT: The community were consulted about the Paihia Waterfront Redevelopment through a consent process which began in 2006.

Public consultation took place throughout the original Resource Consent process, and more recently since the project was rejuvenated thanks to PGF funding.

A timeline of the project should help to provide some clarity on this:

In 2006, Resource Consent applications for the original Paihia Waterfront Project were lodged with FNDC and NRC. A full public submission process followed, and a list of submitters can be found here.

In 2009 the Joint Consent Hearing took place, and initial consent was granted in March 2009.

In April 2009 the Department of Conservation submitted an appeal to the Environment Court. This appeal was then joined by Emma Gibbs-Smith (Nga Whanau O Horotutu Me Taputaputa O Pahi), Bay of Islands Coastal Watchdog Inc, and Lois and Bill Elliot.

Later in 2009 the mediation process took place, and as a result, in January 2010 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between all parties except Emma Gibbs-Smith (Nga Whanau O Horotutu Me Taputaputa O Pahi). The Environment Court issued its final decision later that month.

In February 2010 Emma Gibbs-Smith (Nga Whanau O Horotutu Me Taputaputa O Pahi) then made a further submission, and in May 2010 this submission was rejected by the Environment Court.

In October 2011, Final Resource Consent was granted. To view the consents click here.

However, by this stage the Global Financial Crisis was unravelling and the economic situation was such that FNHL decided it would not be prudent to continue with the project.  The Resource Consent was partially transferred so a deck could be constructed at Zane Grey Restaurant.

In 2019/2020 the Paihia Waterfront Project was presented to the Provincial Growth Fund for funding consideration. The PGF agreed funding for some elements of the project (not the entire Consented plan).

Since August 2020 we have held four public meetings, undertaken dialogue with hapū and attended various community group meetings about the project.

FACT: Tangata whenua have been an integral part of the consenting process.

Representatives of iwi and hapu had the opportunity to submit on the plans during the original consenting process, and Nga Whanau O Horotutu Me Taputaputa O Pahi, in particular, did so with dedication.

We are working closely with those mana whenua who have chosen to engage with us on this project to ensure the outcomes can best represent their wishes, interests and concerns. 

FACT: The community has been actively involved and has successfully negotiated changes to the project in the community’s interests.

Public meetings were held to keep the community informed about the Paihia Waterfront Project, and discuss how the community might get involved.

During these public meetings, people were asked to submit names of organisations and individuals who should be invited to join a community steering group. The steering group would direct us on what the redeveloped waterfront should look like, and the facilities it should offer.

To view the list of names submitted please click here.

This steering group was then formed and invitations to participate were sent out to every one of the organisations and individuals suggested, whether they were supportive of the project or not.

The Waterfront Community Steering Group has met several times to oversee the design of the project from a community perspective.

Paihia community members were asked to submit their design ideas and requirements for the waterfront. These will be incorporated in a design which the community will be able to provide further feedback on.

The steering group communicated to us; people’s concerns about the Eastern Attenuator that features in the consented plans, and successfully negotiated with us to ensure we ruled out building this without applying to NRC for a new consent. The steering group also successfully negotiated with us the option of including the proposed land reclamation adjacent to the Maritime Building in the project, and for the covenanting of this land and the transfer of title to protect the community’s aspirations for this area.

We believe this shows the public consultation has been extensive, and has resulted in some significant and meaningful changes to our original plans to take into account community concerns and ideas.

FACT: FNHL’s professional advisors are absolutely certain that the science behind the project is sound.

Significant scientific investigation and analysis by experts in the fields of wave modelling, hydrodynamics and coastal engineering has taken place. The science shows there will be no adverse effects on water flow or sedimentation. We would not be pursuing this project if any of the science had shown that the breakwaters will be detrimental to the environment of Te Tii beach or any other beach or coastal landmark.

You can view all the key scientific reports and studies on our website by clicking here. 

FACT: All the original scientific studies have been reviewed to take advantage of current best practice, technologies and modelling techniques.

Although the original consents were granted in 2011, we have taken care to revisit the science behind the project. This ongoing review has provided information which allowed for a reduction of the breakwater heights, together with a balancing adjustment to Horotutu Beach, so that the breakwaters will only be visible from half tide and below. This is a significant change from the originally planned height that would have seen the breakwaters visible at all tides, and as such the visual impact will be substantially improved.

All of the key reports and studies were undertaken as part of the consenting process have been verified and peer-reviewed through a 2021 lens, and these are all available on our website by clicking here.

FACT: The breakwaters will not impede the natural tidal flow along Te Tii beach.

The breakwaters have been designed specifically to ensure they do not affect the natural water flow resulting in sedimentation.

None of the science underpinning this project, which was dissected in detail by commissioners at the consent hearings and by the Environment Court, shows sedimentation to be an outcome of this project – please click here.

All of the key reports and studies that were undertaken as part of the consenting process have been revisited and peer-reviewed through a 2021 lens and these are all available on our website by clicking here.

Examples that have been quoted of sedimentation happening elsewhere involve a completely different set of geographies and water dynamics. Because sedimentation happened elsewhere does not mean that it will happen at Te Tii to any greater extent than is already happening naturally.

The conditions of our consent demand that we monitor the foreshore and take remedial action if there are adverse effects.