The Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has marked the completion of the Russell Wharf upgrade by grabbing a brush and finishing its new paint job in the Bay of Islands today.
The gesture represents the completion of the upgrade and renovation of Russell Wharf, funded by the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF).
“It’s great to yet again see work on another PGF project completed,” Shane Jones said.
“Russell is a highlight for visitors to the Bay of Islands and Russell Wharf is the area’s primary connection to the rest of New Zealand. The wharf is a vital piece of community and tourism infrastructure.”
“Russell Wharf is one of the country’s busiest wharfs, with about 850,000 passengers using it to access ferry services every year, but the facilities have not kept pace as patronage has increased.
“The completed work has seen Russell Wharf enhanced greatly in both safety and accessibility. PGF investment has seen the original timber piles with floating pontoons, as well as a wharf extension to accommodate growing visitor numbers and help build capacity for the future.
“The Russell Wharf is only one of the Bay of Islands’ wharves benefitting from PGF investment. Three Northland wharves, Paihia, Opua, as well as Russell Wharf, have received a combined investment of $5.774 million to upgrade their facilities.
“The upgrade of the Paihia Wharf and the Opua pontoon development are still in progress but nearing completion. Once done these upgrades will help boost the future tourism sector and create new jobs and opportunities in the region.
“These wharves are great facilities for the local community to use for a variety of recreational uses. They will also boost the productivity potential of Northland, help grow the tourism sector, diversify the local economy, create new jobs and help build more resilient communities,” Shane Jones said.