134-year-old Akaroa wharf to be demolished, replaced with $19m structure

The old Akaroa wharf is set to be replaced. Photo: Newsline
The old Akaroa wharf is set to be replaced. Photo: Newsline
Akaroa’s 134-year-old wharf is set to be replaced with a new $19.1 million structure.

The replacement will be funded through Christchurch City Council’s Long Term Plan.

Work on the replacement wharf has been under way since a structural assessment of the iconic landmark in late 2018 found it was reaching the end of its viable life, and it was no longer possible or economical to keep repairing and maintaining it.

City council head of parks Andrew Rutledge said the council had been working in partnership with Ōnuku Rūnanga and talking to key stakeholders in Akaroa for several months about how to replace the wharf.

“The current thinking is we will remove the existing wharf entirely before starting to rebuild on the same footprint, retaining the current length and width of the existing wharf in the new structure.

“We will be improving structural capacity for loading and unloading on the new wharf, and looking to provide some additional capacity for vessels,” Rutledge said.

It is proposed to raise the new wharf deck height by a minimum of 50cm, to allow for sea level rise and storm surges and to ensure the longevity and all weather use of the structure.

Rutledge said the new wharf will not be a replica of the existing one, but be its own structure.

"We’ll be using the best materials available for the conditions, which complement the local environment and take into consideration the longer-term maintenance costs.

"We’re also looking at how we can ensure the history of the wharf is captured and recorded, as well as collecting its intangible heritage including personal memories and stories from the community."

Alternative arrangements are being looked at for commercial operations – such as fishing vessels, mussel boats, businesses located on the wharf and cruise ships – during deconstruction of the old wharf and construction of the new one.

"Elements from the wharf which have been identified as having high heritage significance will be salvaged wherever possible and we are exploring ways that some of these can be incorporated into the new structure or used for interpretation," Rutledge said.

"There may also be an opportunity for the community to access and use some of these salvaged materials for other projects in Akaroa and we’ll share details about this as soon as we can."

Work to deconstruct the wharf and build the replacement is not due to start until 2024, with some repairs expected to keep it operational during this time.

  • The Akaroa Wharf replacement proposal is open for public consultation until Monday, January 21. Information sessions on the planned wharf will be held (depending on future Covid-19 restrictions) on Wednesday, December 8, at the Gaiety Hall, Akaroa, 3pm to 7pm, and on January 19 at the function room at the Civic Offices, Hereford St, 4pm to 6pm.

 

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