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Collection cost means fees 'futile'

Last updated 05:00 10/12/2013
Boat Ramp
PAY DEBATE: The Auckland Council says there is no plan to charge for existing free boat ramps and it is just asking ramp users how much they would pay for new facilities.

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There is no intention to charge boat owners for launch ramp use, Hibiscus and Bays Local Board chairwoman Julia Parfitt says.

That's despite the survey saying the Auckland Council might need to consider charges to provide better facilities in the future.

"The cost of collection would make it an absolutely futile exercise and it is something that we don't want," she says.

The Hibiscus and Bays and Rodney local boards launched a survey on November 14 asking boat owners for feedback as they review boat ramp, launching and mooring facilities at 92 sites in their areas.

The survey gives anyone who uses boat launching facilities in the north of Auckland the opportunity to provide submissions on where there are issues and invites them to share their ideas making improvements.

Typically, the most popular facilities are at or beyond full capacity on good weather days during summer.

There is also a lack of all-tide, all-weather ramps.

The survey says in order to provide better facilities in the future the council may need to consider applying charges.

Boat users are asked in the survey how much they would be willing to pay for facilities such as road access, boat ramp functionality and vehicle and trailer parking.

Options start from being willing to pay nothing, then range up from $2 to $20.

Mrs Parfitt says she does not know why the question is included in the survey.

"It was never the board's intention to impose a charging regime.

"Our board is still to receive a full presentation on the survey, but it is one of the things we are going to raise with the person who prepared the survey," she says.

An Auckland Council spokesman says officers included the question because the assessment and discussion of funding options for facility improvements or new facilities is standard practice for council's asset planning processes.

The use of all publicly owned boat ramps is free and there is no intention by the council to change the free use of existing facilities, he says.

"The boat launching facilities user survey will inform us on many fronts about what the user sees as issues and solutions.

"This will include the user's willingness to pay for new and improved facilities at high usage locations," he says.

Other funding methods may include the use of general or targeted rates.

Fill in the survey by going to aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/haveyoursay and clicking on "Current consultations" before February 8.

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In more ramp news, Auckland Council contractors tore up the Marine View boat ramp in Orewa on Friday as work began to replace it after it was damaged in the September 24 storm.

The new ramp is expected to be finished at the end of this week.

- Rodney Times

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