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Frustration over moorings; fees may more than double

The Wānaka App

Sue Wards

02 April 2024, 4:06 PM

Frustration over moorings; fees may more than doubleWānaka boaties already frustrated over moorings may be slapped with large fee increases.

A proposal to increase mooring fees by up to 357 percent has been deemed “unreasonable” by deputy mayor Quentin Smith, who has told boaties he would not support the proposal.

The mooring fees go before Queenstown Lakes District (QLDC) councillors tomorrow (Thursday April 4) as part of a proposed fee schedule for user fees and charges. 

User fees contributed $50M to QLDC in the 2022-2023 financial year - 29 percent of the total revenue of $173M that year. 

Council staffers said they were “expecting an uplift of around $1.29M in income from user fees per year due to the proposed changes”.

The proposed mooring and jetty fees would mean the cost of a private mooring would increase from $175 to $800, a 357 percent increase. 

A commercial mooring charge would increase from $290 to $800: a 176 percent increase.

“Please note that council are proposing next week to lift your mooring fees from $250 to $800 a year, on top of all the other consenting and compliance costs,” Quentin wrote in an email to boaties on March 27.

“I view this as unreasonable and will not be supporting it.”

Quentin told the Wānaka App there has been a complex history around Wānaka’s moorings, involving the role of iwi, how to ensure the moorings are safe and maintained, and whether there is room for more.

“These issues remain unresolved and the consent applications are on hold,” he said, adding the process of sorting this out “has added an enormous amount of cost to ownership for [boaties] with consent applications costing thousands, costs racking up while on hold, dive inspections, Linz lease fees and more”.

“There remains uncertainty that mooring owners will even gain consent and while that uncertainty exists adding additional costs and fees seems unfair.”

Fees and charges are usually reviewed annually as part of the Long Term Plan (LTP) or Annual Plan process, but in February QLDC agreed to defer the LTP following direction from the coalition government to include planning and funding for three waters service delivery for the full ten-year timeframe.

A staff report to councillors said the key considerations behind the proposed fee changes “include increasing costs to deliver services, growth projections and demand, multi-year leases and contracts and benchmarking against other local authorities”.

QLDC media spokesperson Sam White told the Wānaka App if councillors adopt the draft changes, public consultation would run from April 5 to May 5, allowing the community to have their say before any final decision is made.

Adjustments have also been proposed for a range of activities including environmental health, sport and recreation, community facilities, parks and reserves, libraries, and parking.

Tomorrow’s QLDC meeting will take place in Queenstown from 2pm.

PHOTO: Supplied