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Charging rent for structures in coastal waters

MEDIA RELEASE

Charging rent for structures in coastal waters
For immediate release: Tuesday 4 October 2005

Environment Bay of Plenty wants to know what people think of plans to charge a type of “rent” for the use of public space in the coastal marine area.

If it goes ahead, the proposal means the owners of structures such as marinas, marine farms, boat sheds, moorings and wharves would have to pay for the area taken up by them. The charges range from $150 a year for a mooring in Opotiki to just over $600 a year for a 20 square metre private boat shed in Tauranga’s residential area.

Strategic policy chairman Bryan Riesterer says that most of the region’s coastal marine area – its beaches, seabed and sea - is public space, which means it is freely available to the whole community. Private structures essentially block that access.

“These charges would make sure people who take up that space pay rent for it – to the community via the regional council,” he explains.

Under the Resource Management Act, all regional councils in New Zealand have to decide whether to re-introduce coastal occupation charges for coastal structures. Before 1991, the owners of many coastal structures paid a rental to harbour boards.

By law, money collected from the charges has to be spent within the coastal marine area. This could include coastal research, maritime education, improving water quality, and funding navigation and safety. Environment Bay of Plenty spent more than $2 million on coastal-related work in 2004-2005. “Some of this revenue could be used to reduce the amount the general ratepayer pays for Environment Bay of Plenty’s coastal services,” Mr Riesterer says. The rest would be for new environmental enhancements.

After nearly a year of work, the regional council has finalised a draft charging regime that it considers is fair to all. It includes a list of exemptions or reasons for reduced charges, including if a structure is used for essential safety services such as surf lifesaving. The charge would not apply to structures that are publicly owned and have no restrictions on public access.

Environment Bay of Plenty will run informal consultation meetings and hui in October and November. Feedback will help staff develop a draft plan change that will be sent to interested parties for comment. The plan change could be publicly notified in March next year, when people will have the chance to make formal submissions on it.

Coastal Occupation Charges are like “rental” for use of space and are not rates or taxes, explains senior environmental planner Aileen Lawrie. “They are a charge for occupying publicly owned space and recompensing the public for the loss they experience.” Garth Laing, a registered valuer with Property Solutions (BOP) Ltd, was contracted by Environment Bay of Plenty to consider options and prepare a draft charging regime for coastal occupation charges.

Examples of Structure Annual Charge
Jetty (20 square metres, private use only) in Tauranga city area $462pa
Boat ramp (20 square metres, private use only) Omokoroa $308
Moorings (depending on location) $150 (Opotiki) to $400 (Tauranga city)
Boat shed (20 square metres, private use only) Tauranga city $616

For more information please call 0800 ENV BOP (368 267) or go to www.envbop.govt.nz and click on “In consultation.”


ENDS

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