A councillor is forming a trust to take over responsibility for four old wharves in Golden Bay, but first needs to know the trust can control access to the wharves.
Tasman District councillor Paul Sangster is making the move in response to the council's decision to allow community trusts to take over responsibility for local wharves in Golden Bay, Westhaven and the Quay at Motueka.
Mr Sangster said he expected the new trust would spend $500,000 to $600,000 on upgrading the wooden structures, but to generate the money for the work the trust would need "some ability to control the access" to the wharves.
He said some form of income was necessary so that the trust could be eligible for grants.
He wanted the council to give the new trust the ability to have a "peppercorn lease" over the land leading up to each wharf.
"I think council has the ability to say we're now the caretakers of this piece of ground [leading to the wharf]. Surely it's got to be beneficial to them, it takes another half a kilometre of this piece of dirt off the maintenance list, the Waitapu causeway is big.
"Their decision is good, it means they're saying yes, it also says they have some responsibility for them, though DOC have already given us an agreement saying they're happy to transfer ownership to community trusts," Mr Sangster said.
Council spokesman Chris Choat said the land leading up to each wharf would be either reserve land or a road. The council would need to see a proposal first to gauge what sort of impact Mr Sangster's request to control the land leading to the wharf would have but there would probably be "no issue" with the request.
Since 2010 the council has been asked to make its intentions clear about the future for several wharves in Golden Bay and Motueka. Currently they are classed as abandoned and are in the ownership of the Department of Conservation but as they are of historical and cultural significance to the Bay the council had previously been asked by the Golden Bay Community Board to take responsibility for, and repair, them.
"This is not just a Tasman issue and such trusts have been formed in other parts of the country, said Tasman District Mayor Richard Kempthorne. "Such a solution was recently presented as an option enabling no ongoing financial obligation to the council.
"The trust possibility provides a ray of hope for the wharves in the current financial climate as the competition for resources does not allow the council to take more than a supporting role."
The wharfs include Milnthorpe, Waitapu, Collingwood, Mangarakau, Waitapu and Motueka Quay.
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