Boat ramp funds launch a fight
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.