In the spirit of these cash constrained times, Environment Waikato has adopted a more sustainable approach to ensuring its river barge, the Tamahere, is fit for purpose. Rather than replace it – as first planned at a cost of more than a half a million dollars – it will now be refurbished, at a cost expected to be less than $110,000.
The refurbishment requires a suitable site for the future haul out, inspection and storage of the barge, which could potentially be used by other boat operators in future.
The council needs the use of a barge on the lower Waikato for maintaining the Waikato and Waipa river channels and flood protection, navigation safety and emergency response.
Last year, the barge failed marine inspection and the council was advised its only option was to build a new barge.
However, after receiving a second opinion, the council determined the barge could be refurbished to the required standards for an estimated cost of $110,000.
Work to refurbish the barge to pass its fit for purpose certificate from Maritime Safety New Zealand is now nearing completion. This includes full sand blasting and surface preparation, structural steel upgrade and strengthening and surface protection.
The certification is for at least a five-year period.