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Request For Boat Ramp Funds Unfulfilled, For Now

The Māpua boat ramp's coordinator remains confident that the project will be able to secure a resource consent despite concerns to the contrary.

Tasman District Council has put off a decision to release $250,000 of funds for the community-led project after the some councillors questioned its ability to secure a consent during a recent meeting.

The council has allocated $700,000 to the boat ramp, though only about $169,400 has been released to the Māpua Community Boat Ramp Trust who are managing the project.

The boat ramp is estimated to cost at least $2.3 million and is currently in the process of trying to obtain a resource consent.

The consent application received 328 submissions with 111 opposed. There are 88 people who wish to be heard at the application’s hearing, which could cost $150,000.

The Trust’s request for the council to release another $250,000 was built from the desire to have the funds available to cover that cost, and an additional $100,000 for reports and legal representation for the hearing.

“We’re not asking for more money, we’re just asking to use the money that our council allocated for us to do this,” said project coordinator Trevor Marshall.

“Whether the funds were used in terms of resource consent or in concrete, it’s all part of the process.”

However, several councillors voiced concerns about releasing the funding when a consent still might not be granted, or when a consent could be overturned in the Environment Court.

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“It seems an extraordinary amount of money that we’re being asked to commit for an uncertain outcome,” councillor Christeen Mackenzie said.

“I don’t feel comfortable getting myself into a situation where I’d have to explain to the community that actually we’ve spent all this money and we’ve got nothing.”

However, other councillors thought that the council should release the funds it has already committed to providing the Trust.

“We already knew these risks were there when we approved the $700,000. So, to now relitigate it seems a bit bizarre and probably a bit disconcerting for other community groups who are trying to work with council and can see just how inconsistent we might be,” councillor Mark Greening said.

Councillors’ concerns about whether a resource consent will be granted for the boat ramp plan, as shown in this artistic impression, have delayed a decision to release more funds for the project. Photo: Supplied.

“Give them the flexibility to land the plane.”

The decision was muddied further by claims from the Trust that the council had promised to build a new boat ramp in Māpua after access to the old one was restricted despite council officers having no knowledge of such a commitment.

Elected members eventually opted to defer their decision on releasing the funds until after the council has met with the Trust to discuss lingering concerns about sharing risk and if the Trust would be able to fund the rest of the build.

The council is also encouraging the Trust and parties that have opposed the boat ramp application to meet and try to work through their concerns as well.

Speaking after the meeting, Marshall said he was “always happy” to meet with those concerned about the plans.

“We really want to try and reassure people that the concerns they have are equally our concerns as well and there’s always a solution, you’ve just got to find it.”

But if the council eventually decided not to advance the $250,000, then the Trust would have a decision to make: “can we try and find money from somewhere, or do we actually walk away from it?”

The money allocated to the project are not funded by rates but come instead from Reserve Financial Contributions which are instead funded by growth and are meant to be spent on community reserves.

Building a boat ramp would free up Grossi Point Reserve, which is where boats are currently launched from.

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