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Marina issue should be about access than ownership

Waitakere says marina issue should be more about access than ownership

Waitakere City Council has voted to support the retention of the Westhaven Marina in public control in perpetuity, as long as it is providing commercial benefit to the region.

The marina has been put up for sale by international tender by Ports of Auckland Limited (POAL), as it "no longer represents an investment in the core business strategy of the company". At present, Infrastructure Auckland holds 80 per cent of POAL's shares on behalf of Aucklanders, with the remaining 20 per cent owned by private investors.

North Shore City Council is leading the campaign for the marina to be owned and managed as a public facility and has asked Waitakere to support its stance.

At a special council meeting, Waitakere councillors agreed that public control of the marina is important for ensuring continued public access. However, they expressed concern about the possibility of the region being locked into public ownership of a commercial liability that would cost ratepayers money.

The Council recommended that its representative on the Infrastructure Auckland Electoral College, Deputy Mayor Carolynne Stone, call for a comprehensive report, exploring all the possible long-term ownership options for Ports of Auckland shareholding.

The issue is also likely to be raised at today’s meeting of the Auckland Mayoral Forum, where Waitakere City Mayor Bob Harvey and North Shore City Mayor George Wood will argue the case with their counterparts.

“While we believe public access to recreational areas, such as the Westhaven Marina, is important, we wouldn’t want to be locked into public ownership if that ownership became a liability,” says Councillor Stone.

“We should ensure that public control of the marina brings commercial benefit to the region. There is little point in owning a marina to allow a few people to walk down there and eat their sandwiches, if it’s going to cost ratepayers money to keep it.”

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