Tasman District Council will be considering a request to contribute funding towards a proposed new inter-island ferry service operating between Port Motueka and Whanganui.
Midwest Ferries is proposing the new service which will initially be aimed at freight companies with one return sailing a day. The company presented the results of a feasibility study to council on Thursday and asked council if it would contribute up to $100,000 to the help continue investigations into the viability of the proposal.
Midwest Ferries project director Nik Zangouropoulos says one of the biggest costs of the proposed service would be $20-25million for purchasing a dredge to clear the approach channel at Port Motueka. The port would also have to be redeveloped to include a suitable facility for berthing and marshalling areas.
Tasman mayor Richard Kempthorne says council is intrigued by the proposal but that Midwest Ferries faces a number of challenges before the project could become a reality. Although the economics of the proposal appear to stack up, Richard says one of the biggest issues was the environmental impact of redeveloping Port Motueka.