Monday, April 22, 2024

Picton ferry project fast-tracked

A planned upgrade of the Waitohi Picton Ferry terminal has been approved under the Government’s fast-track consenting process.

Environment Minister, David Parker welcomed the decision by the expert consenting panel to approve the Waitohi Picton Ferry Precinct Redevelopment Project.

Mr Parker said the project would provide a significant upgrade to the ferry facilities in Picton to accommodate larger, more eco-friendly ferries.

“The new ferries will be more fuel efficient, kinder on the environment and support New Zealand’s transition to the low-emissions economy,” he said.

“By upgrading infrastructure Kiwirail are preparing New Zealand’s essential travel network for future growth, which is a win-win for the economy and the tourism sector.”

The project involves the construction of new terminal infrastructure, roads, seawalls, culverts, and an overbridge. The application documents signalled more than 200 jobs would be created during the project’s construction period.

The Minister said the current fleet of Interislander ferries were nearing the end of their life and will be replaced by two larger rail-enabled ferries by the mid-2020s. The new ferries will be able to take up to 45% more passengers and freight.

The redevelopment will also accommodate the berthing of other ships.

“The project will support New Zealand to meet our climate change targets, create much-needed employment opportunities and boost the economy in Picton. I’m pleased that the Fast-Track Consenting Act could speed up its delivery,” Mr Parker said.

The COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act 2020 is one of the Government’s levers to boost jobs, speed up infrastructure development and improve environmental outcomes in response to the economic impacts of COVID-19.

The approval was granted by an expert consenting panel chaired by Judge Laurie Newhook.

The decisions took 80 working days from the time the application was lodged with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). This is significantly faster than the time it takes for a similar consent under the Resource Management Act 1991 consenting process.

More information about the decision is on the EPA website. Information about other applications for fast-tracking through the Order in Council process is on the Ministry for the Environment website.

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