Auckland boaties are being urged to stand up and make their voices heard in a bid to guarantee many of the ‘water access rights’ they currently take for granted.
The call comes from Euan Little, the deputy chair of the Auckland Marina Users Association (AMUA), who fears that plans by Auckland Council’s Panuku Development may see many of the city’s marinas negatively impacted.
“Panuku’s proposed strategy for the recreational marina assets on Council land has been a controversial issue for many years,” says Little, “and we’ve fought it since it was first floated because it would see the sale of prime waterfront land for residential/commercial development. That would severely affect the way marinas operate and even impact boaties’ access to the water. And it’s not just the marinas – boat ramps used by Joe Public are also potentially impacted.”
The Council currently owns – or has interests in – six marinas in the greater Auckland region. They are Gulf Harbour, Hobsonville’s Westpark, Half Moon Bay, Westhaven, Viaduct Harbour and the Silo Marina. But Little points out that many of the boat facilities scattered around the region are also on Council land, and if the Panuku strategy was to go ahead, these may also be compromised.
“We are talking about boat ramps, boat storage, trailer parking, dry stacks, haul-outs, maintenance and refit areas, boat sheds from Pakiri and Port Albert in the north to Whakatiwai and Clarks Beach in the south, including the islands in the Gulf and Great Barrier.
“Within this area are more than 49 boat clubs servicing the local needs of learn-to-sail and boat handling, plus boat storage and some boat ramp maintenance. They have around 15,000 members, with thousands more casual boaties who use the same facilities and do not belong to the local club.”
For the moment, though, things are on hold. At a recent Council meeting Panuku’s marina strategy was set aside following submissions from AMUA and other stakeholders. Instead, the Council’s Planning Committee has adopted a new resolution. It will:
• endorse the development of a region-wide marina strategy prioritising the Council-owned marinas including Gulf Harbour, Hobsonville (Westpark), Half Moon Bay and Westhaven.
• commence the strategy process with stakeholder and mana whenua and mataawaka engagement that identifies relevant information, needs and how urgent issues can be prioritized.
• agree that Auckland Council is a creature of statute, which adheres to the intent of empowering acts even where those acts are inconsistent with any precinct plans at individual marinas.
This motion was carried by 17 votes to 3.
Little says the AMUA is strongly advocating the establishment of a Steering Committee to oversee the development of the new regionwide strategy – one that includes all stakeholders.
“We want all non-member users to come in and tell us what they want for their recreational marina assets as well. Anglers, board sailors, kayakers – everyone – and especially those who do not belong to any boat club, marina or similar facility.
“Please contact us so that we can identify your needs and desires. This will enable us to present Council with the real facts needed to be incorporated in the new region-wide recreational marina strategy.” For more information, contact Euan Little, Deputy Chair, Auckland Marina Users Association Inc., at firstname.lastname@example.org