A tug of war over Auckland's marinas

From Nine To Noon, 9:36 am on 9 July 2018

Auckland Council's move to sell land bordering two marinas could threaten the boating industry, boaties say.

Consultation has begun about developments for land the council owns at Hobsonville Marina and Gulf Harbour, north of the city.

The moves to change how the land is used - so some of it can be sold to a developer - is making berth users nervous.

Five of the city's marina users’ groups joined forces and formed the Auckland Marina Users Association, which is vigorously opposing what it describes as Auckland Council's agenda of selling community-owned waterfront land.

They say the current plans are reminiscent of what happened with the sale of land at Bayswater and Pine Harbour Marinas, and they want to raise awareness of what is happening before it is too late.

Spokesman Euan Little said the council had been attempting to get around legislation by making piecemeal changes that would allow it to push the sales through.

As well as boaties’ loss of access, the sale could damage the industry as it revolves around the marinas.

"All these marinas were originally developed by developers as marinas and they've built a little micro economic climates of boat fixing, building repairs, haul-out areas that boats and marinas want to have," Mr Little said.

"We want to keep these micro economic climate areas going and council has said: 'No we don't want to do that'. So they started way back even before the Unitary Plan was negotiated to try and usurp the central government legislation to enable them to get their hands on the land so that they could then sell it."

Mr Little said the sale could set a concerning precedent leading to further loss of city marina amenities.

David Rankin, of Auckland Council's asset management body Panuku Development, said the proposed changes would not lessen public access to the marinas.

"The irony of this discussion is that we're actually significantly improving public amenity at the Gulf Harbour Marina."

Mr Rankin said most of land at Hobsonville would remain in council ownership and only sell three or four blocks of land currently zoned for housing.

In return, the council would get increased parking for the Hobsonville ferry service.