Waikawa Bay is the only suitable option in Queen Charlotte Sound to develop berths and moorings, according to a representative of the Marlborough Berth and Marina Association.
Association representative Paul Williams told commissioners on the fifth day of a resource hearing in Blenheim yesterday that services such as boat builders, marine engineers, restaurants, boat club and access to other food and entertainment outlets were as important to boaties as the marina and moorings.
"Any consideration of alternative marina or mooring sites, in my opinion, needs to be evaluated in terms of provision of the wider boating concept, rather than just focusing on the breakwaters, pontoons and mooring tackle and the parking of boats on those structures," he said.
"I consider that there is only one area that provides this mix of facilities, services and access to the main transport routes – Waikawa."
Port Marlborough has applied for a private plan change to extend Waikawa Marina northwest along The Snout and create three mooring management areas to meet the need for more berths in the Waikawa-Picton area.
A hearing for the plan change started in Blenheim on Tuesday last week and is expected to finish tomorrow.
Mr Williams acknowledged both Picton and Havelock had similar services, but said these were less than at Waikawa.
The number of moorings in the proposed management areas would be on a par with existing moorings, Mr Williams said.
"We're quite happy with a cap on that [mooring numbers]," he said.
The association is an incorporated society of 340 people.
Representatives of the group formed a working party with Port Marlborough about three years ago to investigate how to better manage existing moorings in the Picton-Waikawa area.
Association members include 120 of the 180 mooring holders at Waikawa Bay.
The Department of Conservation told commissioners to give significant weight to evidence to be given today by Waikawa-based iwi Te Atiawa.
Rod Witte read out Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson's evidence yesterday, saying the minister recognised Te Atiawa as kaitiaki (caregiver) of the coastal marine area in the Queen Charlotte Sound, which included Waikawa Bay.
The Crown acknowledged Te Atiawa's relationship with Queen Charlotte Sound in its Letter of Agreement as part of Treaty of Waitangi negotiations with Tainui Taranaki, which also comprised the Te Atiawa iwi.
The intention was that the Marlborough District Council would have a statutory obligation to consider the iwi management plan when developing regional coastal plans, Mr Witte said.
However, the treaty settlement negotiations were on hold because of other legal proceedings, he said.
Commissioners also began to work through the draft mooring management bylaw.
The Marlborough District Council has proposed the bylaw as a means of managing moorings in areas covered by the Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan. The intention is to appoint a moorings manager to issue licences to mooring owners in place of the existing resource consent process.
An application for a plan change to extend the Waikawa Bay Mooring Management Areas and Marina Zone under the Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan began at the Heartland Hotel in Blenheim on Tuesday last week.
It is expected to continue until tomorrow. Port Marlborough wants to extend the marina zone northwest of the existing Waikawa Marina and to create three mooring management areas in the bay. The hearing commissioners are John Maassen, chairman, Edward Ellison and Hamish Rennie. Te Atiawa will present their evidence today at the Blenheim Convention Centre.
- The Marlborough Express