Moorings could escape charges

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 11:47 06/08/2012

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Marlborough district councillors would look at preliminary work on introducing coastal occupancy charges within the next three months, resource management plan review sub-committee chairman David Dew says.

He said there would be an administrative cost in imposing a new charging system, and a screening mechanism might be needed, so that charges below a certain level were waived.

"A lot of things don't cause any problems, such as moorings and jetties. Their practical impact on resources isn't that much."

Mr Dew said whatever the council did with coastal occupancy charges, it would need to be practical about it. There has been a suggestion moorings might come under the regime.

“I don't think anyone with a mooring in Waikawa will be at any risk of having to pay it.”

Council environmental policy manager Pere Hawes said he knew of only one council that had a coastal occupancy charge - the Southland Regional Council - and that was a hangover from a previous regime before the Resource Management Act.

“In terms of new charges imposed under the RMA, I'm not aware of any,” Mr Hawes said.

If the council did decide to impose coastal occupancy charges, they would be part of a new notified resource management plan for the Marlborough Sounds.

Mr Hawes said that plan was “due within the term of the current council”.

The council's resource management plan for the Marlborough Sounds says council has completed a database on the various occupations within the Coastal Marine Area and is satisfied that it now has adequate information in that database to enable the implementation of a coastal occupancy charging regime.

“However, further work, is required to determine the circumstances in which charges will be imposed (and possibly waived), the level of charges and use of monies received, as well as preparing plan provisions, including objectives, policies and methods, to implement such a regime," the plan says.

“In determining an appropriate regime for charging for the occupation of coastal space, the council will take account of the scale of the occupancy, such as the amount of coastal space occupied, as well as the private versus public benefit.

“The council is committed to this process and proposes to introduce provisions dealing with coastal occupation charges into the Marlborough regional policy statement.”

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- The Marlborough Express

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