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Sunday
Dec052010

Boat Ramp Fees (1)

The agenda for the Council meeting of 8 December was released at 2pm on Friday 3 December - two days later than legally required to be made public. No explanation was given.

Item 2.6 on the agenda contains a recommendation from staff that enforcement of the Boat launching  (Parking?) fees should be suspended from 12 December until 30 June 2011. This is obviously in response to the demands of certain Eastern councillors who had the removal of these fees as an integral part of their election platform.

What ratepayers need to know is that the report that accompanies the recommendation contains detailed background information as to how the fees were introduced through the LTCCP consultation process, and that it was one of many measures taken to redress the financial shortfall that Council was facing. 940 responses were received to the specific question regarding Ramp Fees - 541 were in favour. Councillors followed an intricate process in arriving at its decision which was based on the need to recover costs of operating the ramps amounting to over $720,000 in the current year, together with the over $100,000 capital cost of upgrading the Matarangi ramp.

Note also that the large number of the private boat ramp users at Waikawau on the Western side of Peninsula are required to pay either an annual, or per launch fee equivalent to the fee adopted through the LTCCP. Note also the specific fee arrangements that apply at Whangamata, and at Sugarloaf, Coromandel. So it is also a fairness issue with every non-boat owning ratepayer now being expected to subsidise those who wish to launch at every other Council owned ramp in the District, should this recommendation be adopted.

Thames and other councillors need to think very seriously before being "rail-roaded" into acceptance of this recommendation.  It is clearly aimed at leading to permanent suspension after the 30 June deadline, and this will certainly require further public consultation under the LGA, or adoption of an "inconsistent" decision, as indeed is the current "temporary" recommendation.

Reversal of the policy in the face of self-interested defiance by certain rogue elements within the boating community hardly constitutes strong leadership. If this represents the manner in which this Council intends to proceed, then expect further minority rate and fee revolts as time goes on.  

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Reader Comments (4)

Lets see Bill. The council you were on for the last three years voted in a farcical regime whereby people were charged for launching from oyster covered rocks in Tairua's case, with no service standards in place and no actual boat ramp, at times we couldn't even get boats in the water. That casual users were charged $6 a pop year round is a joke. It cost more to implement than you received back in fees. No work was done on the "ramp" in that year. Power hungry by laws officers issued $200 fines for unregistered tractors, and fines for not getting a parking permit when there was no thought put into where to get a permit before 8am in the morning. Is it any wonder people like yourself who voted it in were kicked out. Boating has always been one of the Coromandels biggest drawcards and economic stimulus for every town around the Coromandel, especially Thames where most boats have to drive through and stock up on things. A smart council would have the best possible free facilities and recognise them as an economic driver. The last councillors underestimated how big this issue was and dug their heels in rushing in this policy before Xmas without thinking about how it was implemented and as a result you are left writing blogs rather than leading the region, that is being done by people who have some leadership skills now.

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Muir

oh, and by the way Bill, referring to the boating community and those who benefit from it as a 'minority sector' - it just goes to show how out of touch you and your council were. If you had of done the numbers and worked out just how many people go boating you might have got some more votes.

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Muir

Well Carl, that's one view, and a legitimate one, even if most of the points you make were well dealt with during the "settling in" period. The revenue exceeded budget, even after the wilful damage by the rogue elements who you clearly support was paid for. I doubt very much whether my demise in Thames had anything to do with boat ramp fees - it may surprise you to find just how little interest there is in the Thames area in this issue. And if this was the case, how to you explain Mr Minogue's demise - an avid opponent of the fees from day one? Anyway, good to hear from you, and you are welcome to comment at any time.

Thank you Carl - point made (twice I believe!)

December 7, 2010 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

is this the same Carl Muir that runs a commercial fishing operation in Tairua targeting kingfish amongst other species?
surely he could afford $65.00 a year to-wards the cost of launching his commercial boat - and I do believe there is a ramp at the Tairua wharf- owned and maintained by Council [ paid for currently by all ratepayers] for the benefit of boaties.
and rightly so the 'power hungry' enforcement officers who impose fines on unregistered and unwarranted trailers and towing vehicles - we want people on the Peninsula who comply with the rules - what if a unwarranted trailer was to lose a wheel and crash into a innocent child causing death - people would be up in arms over the Council not ensuring vehicles using our roads were not up to scratch.
come on Carl Muir - $6.00 to launch a boat for a days fishing is not going to break the bank - but a least they are contributing towards improvements in the Districts boat launching facilities - haven't you heard of 'user pays' - boaties at Waikawau over at Thames don''t seem to mind -

December 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkingfish

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