Image: Design and scope of the Royal Billy Point boat ramp and pontoon project. Click here to expand. Work on the upgrade to the Royal Billy Point wharf and boat ramp in Pauanui is scheduled to start Monday 17 June 2019. While the work takes place, the Royal Billy Point boat ramp and the Pauanui wharf will be closed to the public from 17 June until 30 September. The construction period takes into consideration that the ferry service is not fully-operational during the winter period. A further closure of the Pauanui wharf will also be required for approximately one week in October so we can install a floating pontoon and landing bridge. The project has been broken into three stages: Stage one - The construction is taking place off-site and will be delivered in late-September. This involves replacing the floating wharf structure and aluminum access bridge. This work will be undertaken by local and outside contractors under the supervision of Council staff. Stage two - This will work will start on 17 June which involves removing three sections of the access walkway, widening and replacing further west. This has been contracted to Bridge It NZ for $699,545.43. Stage three - ($682,301) Will follow in mid-July and contractors EPL Construction will remove the existing boat ramp and timber wall and construct a new wider boat ramp with longer timber wall. "It’s great to finally see the project underway," says Tairua-Pauanui Community Board Chair, Bob Renton. "I would like to thank the community and especially the members of the working group who provided valuable input into the design, some of them have used the current facility for 50 years so had in-depth user knowledge of what needed to be done." Background The boat ramp is over 50 years old as it was part of the original comprehensive development of Pauanui in the 1960s. Over the past few years the boat ramp has deteriorated. The wharf is used mostly for pedestrian access to the Tairua – Pauanui ferry service that operates from the floating pontoon. The pontoon remains an all-tide facility for shallower draft vessels. Royal Billy Point is the primary location for trailer boat parking and boat launching at the closest point to the harbour entrance at Pauanui. As part of the project residents have stated that there is a need for improvements to boat queuing, particularly in the summer months where the ramp is well used and boats have to temporarily moor on the beach while waiting for the boat ramp to become free and the vehicle and trailer are manoeuvred to the ramp. A submission to the Tairua- Pauanui Community Board meeting 09 September 2013 stated that during the Christmas period and long weekends over 200 boats per day use this boat ramp. It is expected that demand for boat launching will increase over time with a number of approved subdivisions in Pauanui. The Tairua-Pauanui Community Board received the project from a group of Pauanui residents in 2013 and then set this as a priority project. At the end of last year they supported the proposed design and scope of the Royal Billy Point boat ramp and pontoon project. The Pauanui jetty was built in 1993 and is constructed approximately 300 meters out into the harbour at Royal Bill Point reserve. At the end of this structure is a floating pontoon. The pontoon structure is 16.0 meters long x 3.55m wide. The timber decked pontoon is supported by six precast concrete flotation cells with four guide piles. The Pauanui wharf pontoon was programmed for replacement in year 2018/19 of the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan and will now be incorporated into the Royal Billy Point boat ramp redevelopment project in order to save costs associated with establishment and disestablishment of equipment. A budget of $65,000 was approved through the 2017/2018 Annual Plan for detailed design and consenting. Following a stakeholders meeting on 21 August 2017 Total Marine Services Ltd were engaged to prepare detailed designs for the concept. These designs were discussed at a stakeholders meeting held on 7 November 2017 with some minor changes being requested to the location of the boat ramp pontoon and timber retaining wall, and a platform along the top of the retaining wall. Updates on the project will be published on this page or subscribe to our e-newsletters here to have them sent to your email address.