Jetty owners’ re-consenting nightmare
With hardly any roads on Kawau Island, wharves and jetties are critical for most islanders to access their properties.
The cost of maintaining these structures is increasing. But, claims under the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act, are putting some islanders under intense financial pressure.
Of more than 70 wharves or jetties on Kawau Is, most are privately owned.
As climate change related storms ramp up, they are taking their toll, Kawau Islander and Kookaburra magazine editor Michael Marris said.
‘‘The storm surges uprooted wharf piles putting them right out of the water,’’ he said, something he has not seen before.
Attached to this are safety concerns over public use of private jetties to access public beaches without contributing to upkeep.
Chairman of island community group KIRRA, Les Mellars, shares a wharf with around six other property owners. He estimates maintenance costs average out to around $10,000 annually. Re-consenting issues, including those relating to marine customary titles, are putting serious financial pressure on jetty owners, he said.
With hundreds of customary title applications nationwide, it is likely to take years to get through them all.
In the interim, as 20-year resource consents for wharves come up for renewal around the coast, owners have to find and notify any claimants before reapplying to council.
‘‘The responsibility lies with the applicant for resource consent to engage with the Customary Title applicant, prior to the lodgement of their application,’’ an Auckland Council spokeswoman advises.
‘‘The council does not notify applications for Customary Title, that is a responsibility of the Crown.’’
There are around 30 applications for Crown engagement in the Auckland region with Marris estimating seven involve Kawau Island.
‘‘They must all be contacted via a lawyer,’’ he said, with a six month lead in time to sort out details.
After several months trying to sort re-consenting, resident Max Templeton ended up going to a planner.
This cost $3,500 plus an engineers report for $5,000. The resulting work needed on the wharf then set him back $35,000.
Jetties give access to properties and the Kawau Island ferry is a lifeline to the mainland for many.