An intensive two-year upgrade to Spirit of Mangawhai II will mean the Mangawhai Harbour Restoration Society (MHRS) can begin the 2017 dredging season with absolute confidence that the Society’s dredge will perform, according to Doug Lloyd, chairman of the Society.
Each year the Society has a “dredging window” of only six months (from March 1 to August 31). Outside this period, they do not dredge to ensure that the nesting birds around the estuary are not disturbed.
Mr Lloyd said that over the 2015/6 summer, the dredge was dry docked in Whangarei and stripped back to the bare metal and repainted with a two pot epoxy paint.
Other minor repairs were also carried out.
“Unfortunately, we had delays getting the dredge back to Mangawhai because of weather issues, and then the unavailability of a tug,” said Mr Lloyd. This meant dredging in 2016 had begun several months behind schedule.
This summer it is the turn of the mechanicals to receive attention.
The main pump has been running for 12 years without any major repairs. It has been removed from the dredge and is undergoing a complete overhaul with new parts being forged in Australia.
The diesel engine and gearbox are also in the process of getting a major maintenance overhaul.
Mr Lloyd said the repair bill for the dredge upgrade over the two years would total more than $150,000.
“In mid-December the dredge was moved up the harbour and moored close to the Mangawhai Tavern. It will remain there until late January 2017 when it will return to the area near the end of North Rd when the pump will be refitted.”
Next year the dredge would be operating on the seaward side of the harbour opposite Bullet Point, said Mr Lloyd.
This was close to where the dredge was operating this year.
“A huge volume of sand has built up in this area over the last two or three years and if left will eventually severely restrict water flow into the upper harbour,” he said. “The build-up of sand is also pushing the water flow up against the bund wall and erosion is beginning to occur. It is critical that we prevent this from getting any worse.”
The Mangawhai Harbour Restoration Society hosting a public meeting on January 28 (Auckland Anniversary Weekend) to explain the history and future plans of the Society.
“The harbour is Mangawhai’s greatest asset, so we feel it is important to update the community on our activities at least twice a year,” said Mr Lloyd.