Boat ramp funds launch a fight

Central Leader - - News - By Heather McCracken

A storm is brew­ing over two com­pet­ing projects to build an all-tide boat ramp on the Manukau Har­bour.

Fund­ing ear­marked for a stalled One­hunga project has been trans­ferred to a cheaper pro­posal in Man­gere Bridge.

But the One­hungabased Manukau Alltide Boat Ramp Trust say they’ll fight to keep their project alive.

“I re­ally am to­tally con­fused about what’s go­ing on at the mo­ment,” says chair­man Roger Bald­win.

“The trust has been meet­ing for about seven years and it keeps be­ing de­ferred be­cause of out­side in­ter­ests.”

Un­cer­tainty over the State High­way 20 up­grade in One­hunga has de­layed the project, which is es­ti­mated to cost up to $8 mil­lion.

Mr Bald­win says that fig­ure is a worst case sce­nario, and it could be built for $4m.

And the project is part of the One­hunga fore­shore restora­tion now be­ing planned by the Auck­land City Coun­cil.

But last month coun­cil­lors rec­om­mended switch­ing the al­lo­cated $1 mil­lion to the Man­gere ramp in­stead.

Man­gere Com­mu­nity Board mem­ber Ken Tay­lor says the ex­ist­ing ramp is not up to scratch, and a re­place­ment is needed now.

“It’s a pretty rough sort of thing and not re­ally boat-wor­thy if you get a north­west­erly com­ing in,” he says.

“Get­ting ac­cess to a 24-hour all-weather boat ramp is im­por­tant from a safety point of view.”

The ramp, float­ing pon­toon and break­wa­ter at Man­gere Bridge have been es­ti­mated to cost $2m, with an­other $1m to come from the Manukau City Coun­cil.

Mr Tay­lor says the Man­gere project won’t rule out an One­hunga ramp be­ing built in fu­ture.

Auck­land’s arts, cul­ture and recre­ation com­mit­tee chair­man Greg Moyle says costs for the One­hunga pro­posal were too high, and se­cur­ing fund­ing was un­cer­tain.

“One­hunga is a no-go, but we will part­ner with Manukau City Coun­cil to fund an all-tide boat ramp,” he says.

Mr Moyle says One­hunga boat­ies will be dis­ap­pointed, but they will ben­e­fit from the new ramp.

“Does it mat­ter whether it’s on the Man­gere side or the One­hunga side?

“I don’t think so. I just think the im­por­tant thing is that we have one.

“It will meet the needs of recre­ational boat­ies but will also pro­vide a fa­cil­ity that can be used in emer­gen­cies, that doesn’t ex­ist at the mo­ment.”

Coast­guard North­ern Re­gion op­er­a­tions man­ager Ray Burge says a moored boat at French Bay and trailer units at Pa­pakura and Waiuku can re­spond to any in­ci­dents.

“As far as we’re con­cerned, the Manukau Har­bour is well served by our three units,” he says.

But he says the Coast­guard sup­ports bet­ter ac­cess to the wa­ter for boat­ies.

One­hunga sup­port­ers plan to op­pose the fund­ing change at the arts, cul­ture and recre­ation com­mit­tee meet­ing on Novem­ber 12.

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