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New Zealand sailors - do you want a 160-berth marina in Matiatia Bay?

'Matiatia Bay from the sea'    .

New Zealand sailors around Auckland - do you want a marina in Matiatia Bay? For the uninitiated, Matiatia Bay is a bay on Waiheke Island, a day sail from Auckland, with white sand beaches and surrounded by stunning cliffs. Nearby is the spectacular native bush to explore and right now it is a peaceful anchorage and wharf.

There are plenty of opinions by the general public about the proposed 160-berth marina, lodged with Auckland City Council by WAiheke Marinas, but what of the sailors? - those who would be most likely to use such a marina.

The opposition is lining up. Former well-known broadcaster John Hawkesby is asking residents who do not want a marina at Matiatia for $10 each, for a fighting fund against the marina. He says he will be asking a number of wealthy friends to each match the public contribution once the total has reached $5000.

What's the problem? Well first, it looks as though the man-on-the-street or the sailor-in-the-anchorage is not to get a say. The Auckland Council hearings committee voted 4-3 on Friday for the Waiheke Marinas application to be decided by the Environment Court instead of a public panel.

Now the public can only participate in the decision making process by using experts pro bono or for a fee to make a collective case.

Matiatia Wharf -  .. .  

Waiheke Marinas' Graham Guthrie told the media he has already paid for his experts and the marina's opponents will have to do the same.

'You can't just stand in front of the judge to say ‘we don't want it',' he says. 'Submitters will need to find a loophole and get an expert of their own to argue with our expert.'

John Hawkesby is adamant he and anyone who opposes the marina will be heard: 'I'm not against a marina per se. It's probably quite a useful thing. It's the inappropriateness of putting it at Matiatia. This is a major point of reference from Auckland and needs to be kept as it is.'

Opponents of the marina application can join Direction Matiatia Inc, a new group on Facebook where bank account details for donations to the fighting fund will be posted.

by Sail-World Cruising


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8:18 PM Sat 17 Aug 2013GMT

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