Shovel Ready Funding for Kōpū

Thames Coromandel District Council is set to benefit from significant government shovel ready investment, with the announcement that the Kōpū Marine and Business Precinct is to receive $8.2 million in funding.

The investment in the Kōpū Marine Precinct will not only support employment in the Thames township, it will also provide alternative marine-servicing options for vessels from the Hauraki Gulf, Coromandel, Tauranga, Auckland and Whangarei.

This project will have immediate benefits for the local community by creating up to 13 jobs in the short-term. Another 19 jobs will be created through the precinct’s construction, with potential for up to 108 downstream jobs when the project is complete.

The funding will be used to finalise planning, design and construction of a new access road, upgraded boat ramp and car park, a floating pontoon and mud berth, which will allow boats to rest on the seabed to facilitate in-water servicing and dismantling.

In 2019, Rationale completed a detailed business case funded by the Provincial Growth Fund for the project. This was submitted to the same fund and subsequently put on ice, only to be brought back to the table as the government looked to kick start the economy as part of the response to COVID19.

Kōpū is ideally situated just outside the ‘golden triangle’, between the major ports of Auckland and Tauranga, and well placed to service the marine farms of the Hauraki gulf and its outer islands. The area has the potential to be a hub for marine maintenance, freight and transport as well as providing tourism connections and much needed emergency services to the wider Coromandel.

While the project provides new commercial opportunities, it also features upgrades that will benefit recreational users and will enable the continued use of Kōpū by the community.

As part of the Kōpū project, Rationale changed up their modus operandi, outlining a new process which has since been fully integrated into “the way we do things”. Kōpū served as the birthplace of our now well-known and often-used “deep dive” approach.

Using the deep dive approach, we get in and understand the issues and opportunities for a project early whilst building a project team and bringing the community along on the journey. This builds momentum for the project and provides a deeper level of understanding and transparency for all involved.

In the case of Kōpū, Rationale held a series of workshops to understand how the existing slipway was being used, what the demand was like and what opportunities might result from an upgrade. This information was invaluable to the project team throughout the development of the business case. In fact, we brought some key players from those initial sessions back to help us design and evaluate options further down the track to ensure the preferred solution was going to be usable and deliver the desired benefits for the community.

The investment in Kōpū shows the tangible benefits of Rationale’s approach and will have significant downstream benefit to the local community for years to come. Just another example of how we’re working to improve our communities on a daily basis.

More detail on the Kōpū Marine Precinct project is available here –