To: Andy Nock, CE of Far North Holdings, and John Carter, Mayor of Far North District Council
STOP THE PAIHIA SEAWALLS
Ditch all plans to dredge the seabed and build seawalls opposite the waterfront of Paihia, Bay of Islands.
Why is this important?
The seawalls will completely alter the natural outlook from Paihia’s bustling commercial center, which is currently an amazing view over the Bay of Islands across to Russell. Many believe this project will ‘kill the goose that lays the golden egg’ for Paihia.
Motu Maire, the main island out from Paihia which will be directly affected by the seawalls is, and has been, an important place to local māori for centuries. Endangered dotterels and other shorebirds nest on the southern beach of the island.
At low tide it’s likely the Sea Walls will be a monstrosity, hideously changing what was once a beautiful and picturesque view.
The Paihia Sea Wall plan was a commercially defunct project that had been shelved for 15 years. It was only resurrected by the council owned company, Far North Holdings (FNH) who presented it as a shovel-ready-project to the government’s Provincial Growth Fund in response to COVID19.
While the project has had funding confirmed, much has changed in the world in that 15 years, and FNH made that application without any consultation with local māori (hapū) or the wider community to gauge support for the resurrection. As a result the sea wall project has already created huge ankst and divisions within the community.
Stopping the tidal flow with sea walls and dredging up the seafloor is environmental vandalism which could create unforeseen negative consequences, for example, the erosion of Paihia’s south beach, Te Tii beach and the multiple beaches on Motu Maire. Sedimentation within the wall’s confines is also another major concern.
Many believe the project is laying the groundwork for building a new marina and continuing excessive development of the foreshore and harbour for commercial gain.
This area is not private property to be permanently altered by a select few without the support of the many. If the walls are built they will affect us all, forever. Every tourist that comes to the area will be expecting the vista they have seen in postcards and instead be greeted by an ugly and irreversibly changed landscape.
The Far North Holdings sea walls must not go ahead!
Ps: It is possible to NOT build the walls & instead put the money to better use - to projects that bring the hearts and minds of locals together in a positive and constructive way - and to solve the real problems the community is facing as a whole. It is also entirely possible to restore the main beach of Paihia without the sea walls.