Safety concerns on Diamond Harbour Wharf

The Diamond Harbour ferry.

Fears passengers will injure themselves while getting on and off the ferry at Diamond Harbour Wharf has prompted staff to look into what improvements can be made.

Black Cat Cruises told the Banks Peninsula Community Board about the difficulty of passengers boarding and disembarking the ferry from the Diamond Harbour side.

Chief executive Paul Milligan said there was no ramp leading onto the ferry, so the passengers had to climb down steps.

There was a risk of passengers falling between the wharf and ferry into the water, he said.

“We’ve just identified with the number of people we’re carrying across there, getting on and off the boat at the Diamond Harbour side is not quite as easy as we would have liked.”

Mr Milligan said they carried about 2000 passengers a week.

He said they wanted a floating pontoon, like on the Lyttelton side, but he understood it wasn’t a quick fix.

“We just wanted to start the conversations around it.”

The board asked city council staff to look into whether any maintenance could improve safety and access.

City council neighbourhood and sports parks operations manager Al Hardy said Black Cat had raised accessibility concerns about the wharf.

“Council will respond to any concerns about safety as they arise.”

Mr Hardy said there was $4.24 million budgeted in the long term plan to replace the wharf. But that was spread between 2022-2025.

“If funds where bought forward in the long term plan, to replace the wharf, it is highly likely other projects would need to be pushed out; this is a decision for council
to make during the LTP process.”

He said any redesign would include maximising safety and ease of use.

The city council had also received a complaint recently about the slipperiness of the dinghy ramp on the wharf, which was inspected and cleaned, Mr Hardy said.

Mr Milligan said their ideal situation was for the wharf’s replacement to be brought forward.

Diamond Harbour Community Association chairman Richard Suggate
said some people who were elderly, had young children or were disabled, chose not to take the ferry because of the access issues. He welcomed the city council looking into the issue.

“It’s an important lifeline for the community.”