Following extensive consultations, the Buller District Council has made the decision to sell the Westport’s Kawatiri dredge.
At yesterday’s council meeting, Buller District councilors resolved 6-4 to sell the dredge.
The council-owned company, Buller Holdings Ltd, will manage the sales process that will begin next month, when the Kawatiri is on the slip for maintenance and recertification.
According to the council, the Kawatiri has not dredged the Buller River for more than 12 months since the cement manufacturer Holcim left Westport in mid-2016. Prior to that, it was used to dredge bays for the large cement ships.
Last week Buller District mayor, Garry Howard, said that selling the dredge was “the only sensible option left” after fruitless years of searching for new bulk trade shipping opportunities and more contract work for the Kawatiri.
“Without Holcim to justify it, keeping the dredge is costing Buller ratepayers more than a million dollars a year. That’s $140 per ratepayer for the dredge to sit idle with no return for ratepayers,” Howard said.
Proceeds from the sale would go back to Buller District Council. Ratepayers would have a say on how the funds would be utilized as part of next year’s 10-Year Plan engagement process.