Transport infrastructure under the spotlight

Transport bottlenecks in the Bay of Plenty and extensive infrastructure improvements were part of a wide-ranging discussion at the Urban Form and Transport Development Committee on Tuesday.

Toi EDA, the Eastern Bay economic development agency, has weighed in on the debate and has encouraged all the agencies involved to focus on solutions to the issues.

Karl Gradon, General Manager at Toi EDA, said that there was a need for the various agencies – central government, local government and the private sector to work towards a long-term solution that will allow free-flow of goods and services across the Region.

“In the Eastern Bay, we are in a period of growth and expansion after many years of flat-lined GDP. We are seeing the impact of investment from private entities, Iwi groups and the PGF [Provincial Growth Fund] across a wide range of industries. Kiwifruit is booming, farming and horticulture are growing steadily, Mānuka and aquaculture are emerging industries with a huge potential. We want to make sure we maximise that investment and remove any constraints we see that could curtail that growth.

“Much of Toi’s focus at the moment is looking a few years ahead and ensuring that there are viable and efficient ways of getting these goods to market. One of the key constraints is transport infrastructure so we are keenly aware of the debate around the bottleneck at the Port and the implications for us in the Eastern Bay.

“But at the same time, we recognise that there are many solutions that will chip away at this issue but no magic bullet. A big one that we have front of mind is Kawerau’s container terminal.

“The terminal project has been identified as one of four important infrastructure projects for the Eastern Bay. It is already well-developed with a view to lodge a PGF application in the near future.

“The terminal will provide significant infrastructure improvements, particularly reducing dependence on road links. It is one of a number of solutions to improve infrastructure and logistics and help build a more prosperous Eastern Bay.”

Sam Gardner