The Rodney Local Board has voted unanimously to allocate $250,000 towards a $5.1 million project to dredge the Mahurangi River.
Once dredged, its anticipated the river will allow free movement of boats over all tides, attracting a significant number of visitors for recreational and commercial purposes.
Rodney Local Board chair Beth Houlbrooke says for years people have been saying that Warkworth should be highlighting the river as a natural attraction.
She says by making the river attractive, shops may want to re-orientate themselves to face the river, and they will be encouraged to invest because of the additional numbers of people an enhanced river will bring in.
“Over the long term, it’s not out of the question we could get a fast ferry,” she says.
The Board funding comes in the wake of a deputation to the Board by the Mahurangi River Restoration Trust in April, outlining the dredging project and a plan to dispose of the sediment at a landfill site further down the river.
The use of a landfill site dramatically reduces the cost of the project since it means sediment does not have to be transported out to sea.
The total cost of the dredging project is estimated to be $5,139, 300.
So far, the trust has raised just over $1 million and will seek to secure the remaining money to cover the entire project cost through a fundraising campaign later this year.
A ceremonial removal of the first bucket of silt from the river will take place at the Warkworth Wharf this Friday, August 24 at 4pm.