New mussel farms will boost the Golden Bay community, with the income from 160 hectares of marine farming space to be donated to local causes each year.
The SMW Consortium (Sealord, MacLab, and Westhaven Group) this week officially transferred the space to the Golden Bay Community Trust who will generate income from the the space to support environmental, education, health and other charitable causes in Golden Bay.
It follows approval in 2019 to develop the space, more than 20 years after the initial resource consent was granted.
MacLab director Andrew Broadbent says it’s exciting for farming to be underway after a long, costly and challenging journey.
“From the start we backed the idea of Golden Bay people seeing the benefits of developed water space flowing widely through their community. We are looking forward to setting a benchmark for sustainable and responsible marine farming.’’
Trust chair, local businessman Tom Sturgess and fellow trustee Bob Butts and his wife Joan, formed the agreement with SMW for a Golden Bay Trust to administer the assets and funds generated.
Tom has already given the Golden Bay community a taste of the benefits by funding close to $100,000 in grants that the Trust has distributed over the last two years.
“This has been a lot of years in the making,” says Tom. “The Idea that the community gains direct benefit from the use of its water space feels right. I’m delighted we are aligned with industry players who saw the benefit of investing back in their community.”
In future, the Trust will provide grants from its growing revenue stream as the water space is progressively developed.
Further benefits are also provided to iwi, who gained 20% of the approved water space.
The farms are sited 5.5 kilometres off Parapara and the first crop of greenshell mussels is expected to be ready for harvest from late next year.
The trustees for the Golden Bay Community Trust are: Tom Sturgess, chair, Bob Butts, Dorje Strang, David Lyttle, Andy Wotton.
The Trust appoints a Distribution Committee, all permanent residents of the Golden Bay Community, including: Robin Manson, Carolyn McLellan, Laurie Davidson, Chairman, Helen Bracefield, Neil Wilson and Dr Tracey Osbourne. This committee assesses the applications for funding and makes recommendations to the Trust.
- The Aquaculture Management Area 2 Puramakau was approved late last year, some 20 years after resource consent applications were first made.
- It had been designated as an AMA by the Tasman Resource Management Plan overseen by the Tasman District Council, TDC.
- The aquaculture provisions of the Plan saw a comprehensive Environment Court inquiry under Judge Shonagh Kenderdine who embraced the concept of the Golden Bay community benefiting from growth in the aquaculture industry.
- SMW Consortium’s initial resource consent application for 1000 hectares saw iwi gain 200 hectares. Of the remaining 800 hectares, 20% (160ha) will be developed to fund the Golden Bay Community Trust.
- The Trust’s aims are: “To enhance environmental ecosystems, build community connections, further the education and improve the health and wellbeing of Golden Bay residents.” Eligible purposes which can be funded by the Trust include:
- The education and wellbeing of children and whanau who are residents of Golden Bay and who are financially or socially disadvantaged, or physically or mentally challenged.
- The relief of poverty.
- The provision of services to meet the educational, wellbeing, emotional and spiritual needs of the community or individuals.
- The care and welfare of the elderly and infirm, physically and mentally challenged.
- The provision of medical facilities, equipment and services, facilities and opportunities for artistic, cultural and sporting endeavours.
- The preservation and protection of the environment.