Port Marlborough and KiwiRail have welcomed the inclusion of the Picton Ferry Precinct Redevelopment Project in the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast Track Consenting) Bill which is due to be introduced to Parliament today. The legislation names 11 projects for fast-track consenting, including the ferry precinct redevelopment which is part of KiwiRail’s larger initiative to replace the current three-ferry Interislander fleet with two larger ships from 2024. Over the four-plus years it will take to redevelop the precinct, more than 200 full time jobs are expected to be created in direct construction employment and 100 jobs in indirect employment throughout the supply chain. Port Marlborough Chief Executive Rhys Welbourn fully supports the opportunity to consent the project as quickly and efficiently as possible, now that the project’s due diligence and consultation phases are complete. “Over recent weeks we’ve been aware that the Government was considering the terminal project for the fast track process. To have the project specifically listed is great news for the project and for Marlborough.” “The most important point I can make is that this is a fast track – not a short cut – process. The project team has already completed a huge amount of due diligence around project options and design, and has sought and received substantial input from iwi, Council, specific interest groups and the general public – despite the challenges of consulting during the COVID-19 lockdown. “All those involved in the project understand how significant this is for Waitohi Picton. We look forward to continuing to engage with iwi and the community as the project team works through final planning and delivery phases over the coming months and years. I’m confident that together we will deliver an excellent facility for KiwiRail and for New Zealand; one that will deliver economic, social, and environmental benefits for many decades to come.” KiwiRail chief executive Greg Miller says the redevelopment is not only part of a project that will bring significant environmental benefits, but it also has an important role in job creation in the upper South Island. KiwiRail is looking forward to working with Port Marlborough on the project, Mr Miller says. “We’re also looking forward to seeing the designs that competing shipyards come up with for our new ferries,” says Mr Miller. “We have specified that the ships will be cleaner and greener. For example, they will run on battery power while berthing, and battery or land power at the berth. This will reduce emissions and noise in Picton’s harbour basin area and help reduce Interislander’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent and KiwiRail’s overall emissions by 16 per cent. Those are significant reductions.” The hull design will meet performance criteria that ensured the ships met the wave energy requirements of the Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan and the proposed Marlborough Environment Plan, during transit through the Marlborough Sounds. The Picton terminal building will also incorporate sustainable building materials and use less energy, Mr Miller says. “Our aim is to achieve a minimum of five stars in the Green Star sustainable building scheme.” “We’re pleased this legislation will help keep this important project on schedule.” The Picton Ferry Precinct Redevelopment Project involves the ferry terminal wharves, the InterIslander terminal building and rail yards, pedestrian and traffic connections with Picton CBD, and both local and national road networks. It is a partnership between Port Marlborough and KiwiRail alongside the Marlborough District Council and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. Resource consent applications for the Picton Ferry Precinct Redevelopment are on track for lodgement mid-September.