Each year, a significant foreshore area of the reserve is licensed to the Boatowners’ Association by Auckland Council. Under this license, boat owners are allowed to haul up their boats for maintenance, scraping down, painting, etc from 1 June – 30 November each year. They are also allowed to occupy an area for their boat cradles for 365 days a year.
Additionally they are permitted to drag their boats along the length of the foreshore reserve to the licensed area and then along the same strip of land to relaunch them. This effectively means that the foreshore strip is dominated by boatowners.
At the time of the hearings for the Reserve Management Plan, there were numerous submissions about this area and its use. Roughly 50% were in favour of retaining an area for boat haul out, etc and 50% were opposed.
Briefly, arguments in favour were: This has been a traditional use of part of the Bay; the boats provide a picturesque and interesting aspect; Auckland is a yachting/boating city and this needs to be recognised and accommodated.
Arguments against were: Concerns about ground and seawater pollution resulting from activities on this land; untidy and dangerous mess when cradles left there over summer; a small group of people (many from places well away from Northcote and Birkenhead) dominating the use of a significant and valuable piece of foreshore reserve all year round; the ‘haulout road’ across the seaward edge of the reserve leaving a muddy mess during winter spoiling the integrity of the rest of that area.
The result of the hearings was that the use could continue, but that the area used should be reduced by 20% (since done) and that if an alternative site could be found elsewhere, then this area could revert to fully usable public space.
Other decisions were that the lease be changed to an annual, renewable licence, together with regular monitoring with the objective of achieving a better standard of management of the area by the Boating Association.
Several of the photos below provide evidence of the poor standard of care over several earlier years.