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Westhaven issues explored


Westhaven issues explored

The North Shore City Council is exploring ways it can influence the future of Westhaven Marina and will seek the co-operation of fellow local authorities and the Minister of Auckland Issues to achieve its objective of securing the land in regional public ownership.

Westhaven Marina has been put up for sale by international tender by Ports of Auckland Limited (POAL), however the council insists it should stay in public hands forever.

North Shore City's strategy and finance committee chairperson, Tony Holman, is concerned that the proposed sale could lead to more intensive residential development or, worse still, end up in foreign ownership.

"Our residents have given us the clear message that they want this land protected in public ownership. We owe it to them and future generations to work with the region's other councils to halt a sell-off," Councillor Holman says.

"Our council will seek further information on exactly what we can do, or influence, within the current convoluted governance arrangements to achieve our community's wishes. We'll let the Minister for Auckland Issues, Judith Tizard, know of our concerns and seek her support."

POAL has advertised the site for sale, as it "no longer represents an investment in the core business strategy of the company" and put it out to international tender. At present, Infrastructure Auckland (IA) holds 80 per cent of POAL's shares on behalf of Aucklanders, with the remaining 20 per cent owned by private investors.

Tony Holman says the POAL move flies in the face of the prevailing community view that Westhaven Marina should be kept in public ownership as a regional recreational asset.

"We've already written to Ports of Auckland as well as IA and its electoral college to let them know in no uncertain terms where we stand on the issue. Our council was unanimous on this.

"Westhaven Marina was created by the old Auckland Harbour Board for the people of this region. It's a community asset and should remain so," he says.

The issue will also be raised at the November 21 meeting of the Auckland Mayoral Forum of which North Shore City mayor George Wood is the immediate past chairman. Mr Wood is on record as wanting to keep the land in public ownership in perpetuity and he will argue the case again with his mayoral counterparts including Manukau's Sir Barry Curtis who chairs IA's electoral college.

There is a second and much smaller marina, called the Hobson West Marina, which is also up for sale this year. This marina is owned by Downtown Marinas Limited, which is 100 per cent owned by POAL. North Shore City Council is also investigating the background to the Hobson West Marina to assess whether it too should remain in public ownership.

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