Submission to the Auckland Unitary Plan:
With the Auckland Unitary Plan, Auckland Council began moves to subtly undermine the existing conditions in the Auckland Harbour Board (Westhaven) Vesting and Empowering Act 1969. We recognised these moves and immediately encouraged the other Yacht Clubs to enjoin with us, hiring an RMA barrister and Town Planner who presented a convincing argument to the independent commissioners which ensured that Westhaven would indeed remain as a working Marina.
Auckland Marina Users Association:
Panuku development Auckland continued their general undermining of the vesting and empowering legislation and concentrated their efforts in Westpark Marina. While not even associated with Westpark, we enjoined with them, Bayswater marina Gulf Harbour marina and Pine Harbour marina to form the Auckland Marina Users Association whom we encourage to lobby at a political level, to recognise the legislation which protects the original investors in these marinas and to encourage the development of an overarching marina strategy for the whole of Auckland region.
Car Park allocations:
When the original prospectus was issued, there was a definitive statement relating to common area land use for car parking. However, this was not further defined in the contractual agreements. This has provided us with a clear target against the development plans of the current owners.
Within the Auckland Unitary Plan, any new Marina must have a carpark ratio of 1 carpark for every 2 berths. We have always had a ratio of 0.8 (4 carparks for 5 berths) and this is reinforced in the Auckland Unitary Plan decision. We will continue to lobby that the prospectus made a promise which initially attracted retail investors to become Berth Entitlement Unit holders to invest and that this promise must be honoured.
New interpretations of the Electricity regulations:
Electrical safety is a major concern with several hundred boats sitting in the water and connected to the Mains electricity supply. There are several types of electricity user and we believe that they should all be catered to.
The major user is the vessel which has a 230V supply on board, and a means to connect to shore power, when they are at berth.
The medium user does not have 230V on board and connects to the shore power via a lead, only to run an appliance unattended. This might apply specifically to a dehumidifier, on a yacht, left alone for 2 days, or so, in order to dry out wet sails.
The minimum user does not have 230 V on board and would connect to mains power, only to operate a tool in the execution of boat maintenance. This user would be on-board all of the time that they were connected to shore power, in theory.
The major user must have an Electrical Certificate of Fitness (EWOF). End of story.
The medium user can operate the 230V appliance but now must be in attendance at all times, but is not allowed to sleep on board. Otherwise, they must affix the portable electrical box to the vessel and gain an EWOF. We believe that this constitutes an over complication of the Electricity Regulations.
The minimum user can operate through a portable electrical box and does not require an EWOF.
We believe that the medium user should be able to operate through a portable electrical box and not require an EWOF. We believe that this is an interpretation of the Electricity Regulations in New Zealand and that the Marina Operators can safely operate under our suggested regime and reduce the compliance costs for our members, without compromising safety.
We agitated earlier for the Marina Operators to confer with Peter Morphy from EBITTEE who is the final authority on such matters. He attended their conference and advised them upon interpretations of the Electricity Regulations.
The Marina Operators have chosen to operate under a stricter regime than is required, especially for the Medium Users, and we shall continue to agitate for a safe relaxation of their adopted code of compliance. Our concern is that Westhaven Marina Management operate a monopolistic regime in the supply of Electricity and Water to Westhaven berths. While they must comply with Electricity Regulations, they should not impose a more arduous regime, than is necessary, upon our members, when there may be a simpler solution readily available, but is not approved by Westhaven Marina Management.
Westhaven Marina Management are showing increased concern for the cleanliness and water quality within the Marina precinct. We share their concerns and can outline what is happening and what we can do to clean up our own backyard.
Auckland Council (Healthy Waters department) operate an archaic method of combining sewage and storm water within the St Mary’s Bay catchment area, in the cliffs immediately above Westhaven Marina, and have no immediate plans to rectify this. Therefore, whenever a certain level of rainfall is reached, the storm water system begins to carry raw, unprocessed sewage and unceremoniously dumps it directly into Westhaven Marina. On the surface, this regular discharge is not good enough.
We are advised of two remedial activities:
- Two tides is all that is required to flush the excrement out of the Marina, into the harbour, to become someone else’s problem.
- Council will build a new pipeline from the St Mary’s Bay area, to the Watercare sewage treatment station in Mangere. This may happen in 12 or 15 years from now. This will not replace the combined system, it will just supposedly empty the sewage part more quickly and prevent so much excrement being dumped into Westhaven Marina.
Neither of these is satisfactory so we felt compelled to join with the St Mary’s Bay Residents Association to lobby Auckland Council to devise a much better and much quicker solution.
Since Westhaven Marina Management began regular measurements of water quality two more areas of concern have been raised:
An unusually high coliform count was registered at the Western Entrance to Westhaven Marina. Apparently, there is another source of raw excrement being discharged into the harbour, further upstream of the Harbour Bridge, and this washes down the breakwater to flood into Westhaven Marina, through the Western Entrance further polluting our precinct.
This negates any positive feeling which we may have about the tides taking excrement out of the Marina. Hence we have supported the project to close the Western entrance at Westhaven and establish berths for 100 more larger-sized vessels.
The second issue is the amount of fuel floating on the surface of Westhaven Marina. Clearly Westhaven Marina Management have been monitoring the re-fuelling zone but we are still being assailed by this issue.
One area which we can all contribute to is the cleanliness of our bilges. There are several bilge mat solutions which absorb wastes, floating in your bilge. There are now recycling bins to collect these mats. What causes this bilge waste to contaminate Westhaven is the automatic bilge pump on your boat. Once a bit of rain makes its way into your boat, the auto bilge pump will activate and pump everything floating there, into our precinct. So, please use any form of mat, and regularly recycle these so that any fuel or oil waste is effectively removed from your bilge and regularly (at least monthly), check your bilges and use the recyclable mats to clean them.
The many parts of Westhaven Marina:
There are many parts to the current Westhaven Marina and, depending upon the current owner, the interpretations are different.
Initially Westhaven was established as a land plus a water based facility for berthing of boats. The water based areas consisted of:
- pile and swing moorings
- mooring berths
- 2 stages of these held in two Trusts
To attract investors into Westhaven, access to the land, reserved for parking, was promised to those willing to purchase a license to occupy.
The current owner has wanted to separate the land component from any earlier promises made, in the prospectus and to ready this for city centre precinct development. The marina management arm has wanted to develop the last set of remaining pile moorings into mooring berths and cater for a nominally larger vessel for which there is greater, current demand.
There is no concept available to study as to whether the new mooring berth area would be available under the establishment of a third trust, or whether they will be rental only. This is an area of concern to us and we will continue to agitate for some form of outlook from the current owner.
The issue of the use of the common area land is contentious in that there is no formal consideration in any of the license agreements, yet the intention is clear in the prospectus which attracted investors in the first place.
All of these issues are very interesting and, if you have any attachment to Westhaven, you should join WMUA and if you have any passion for our cause, join our committee where we will welcome you with open arms.