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Coromandel Harbour Development 

The next stage in the Development was announced on on 22 July - the final option to be decided by Council on 14 August. The Furey's Creek option appears to have been the preferred option from Day 1, and that is unlikely to change. 

There appears to have been a raft of consultations in Coromandel as Council staff line up their ducks in a row. The announcement avoids any mention of the likely recommendation regarding the channel, dredging or otherwise, and the extent of the development that is to be proposed. One thing that we can be sure of is that the cost of this development will be substantial - beyond the current understanding of the majority of District rate-payers, and we all all be paying - that is a given. It is the price of separating recreational from commercial fishing at Sugarloaf, and should provide a clear way for future aquaculture development - should it ever eventuate - by no means a sure bet! 

What remains unmentioned so far relates to the facilities required for efficient ferry operation - that is the absolute bottom line for a great number of people, and mystery surrounds the level of, and outcomes of the large scale silt testing that was required to be been undertaken during the course of this process. Presumably this will all become clear in the document to be presented to Council on the 14 August. Allied to this is the level of channel widening and dredging that will be required to Furey's Creek.

Everyone in this District, not just Coromandel residents who appear to have been the only ones consulted to date need to take a deep interest on what is being proposed. The dangers are both environmental and financial, and they are substantial. Local boosters see nothing but economic advantage from the plan progressing, but their enthusiasm needs to be tempered with a little realism. Actually, all of Mayor Leach's 'think big' projects need close examination.

By his own frequent statements, Leach plans to stand down next year, and whoever follows may be saddled with a mess. I for one remain intensely sceptical, and remain to be convinced that any of them have economic or environmental merit. And his hand picked Economic Committee does not appear tro have the necessary experience to ponder the wider issues. It is not trite answers, but the framing of the questions that should determine the outcome of this process. And it should not be left to the boosters to determine this outcome.


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