DEMOLITION of the old Picton ferry terminal building is set to begin this month, following the cancellation of the iRex project.

The NZ$1.3 billion project, which would have replaced KiwiRail’s ageing Interislander ferries, had originally made provision for the terminal’s replacement.

Port Marlborough said the 1960s building had not been maintained to usual high standards in recent years, due to its anticipated demolition under the iRex project.

The port announced in April the demolition would still go ahead as planned, even after the NZ government pulled the plug on iRex. Demolition is now scheduled to begin mid-June.

“Despite the changes in the demolition area, inter-island ferries will continue to operate from their usual berths, ensuring minimal disruption to passengers,” Port Marlborough said.

“A new temporary terminal building and passenger walkway has been established for the Interislander to handle passenger and luggage services in the medium term and has worked well already over the busy months since it opened in June 2023.”

Port Marlborough added that StraitNZ Bluebridge services would remain unaffected.

“The demolition of the terminal building will now clear the site for future port operations and Port Marlborough continues to work closely with government agencies on the next steps for development,” it said.

“The works are being managed carefully to ensure continued service efficiency and safety for our busy port.

The Picton ferry terminal was built in the 1960s to support the passenger and freight service for New Zealand’s first rail-enabled ferry Aramoana, which operated in the Cook Strait.

The building has seen the passage of millions of travellers between the North and South Islands over its lifetime.