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Thursday, 5 November 2009

THE BLOTCH IN THE BAY

The Blotch in the Bay--the proposed $10-million-dollar 150-berth marina at Matiatia--is a bad idea. It is only in the interests of a tiny number; it is not in the best interests of the Waiheke community. I don't care whether those who get the berths are fat-cats or thin-cats. That is no place for a cat-basket and kitty-litter. The development would forever spoil the bay and skew how it is used and developed. It is the far-from-thin end of a very long wedge, which would open the doors to a string of even worse developments.

Matiatia Bay is our *public* transport hub, the bus-stop for the island's floating bus. To build 150 private 'boat-garages' there is cross-purposes high on the steroids of greed.

Its proponent first represented it as for the public good, saying there are not enough moorings for island boaties. But when questioned by the Community Board he admitted he would not be able to control who got the berths. That exposed his real motive: his wallet.

Auckland boaties would love it. It takes 2-5 hours to sail out this far, but with a marina at Matiatia they could keep their boats here, catch a 35-minute ferry, and save hours. They would get far more sailing-time in the heart of the Gulf; we would get a defaced bay.

A berth would therefore be a cute investment for non-boaties. Buy a $20,000, $40,000 or $200,000 one and sell it to a rich Aucklander for a handsome profit.

The proponent also pointed to the benefits of his pump-out facilities. But all those
pumped-out pees and poos have to go somewhere, and be treated somewhere, and the leftovers have to go somewhere. Into the bay...

That bay is too small, too precious, and its dominant use too important to the island. Spoiling it and messing up its purpose must not happen.

I wish my colleagues on the Community Board who voted for the marina had not forgotten their promise to act in the best interests of the community. Especially the one who voted for it because he said he likes to wander round marinas and admire the boats. Please! Go to Auckland and wander round Westhaven. Don't mess up Matiatia.