A decision of Auckland Council yesterday has taken the sale of Gulf Harbour marina off the table – for now.
Council CCO Panuku Development is proposing to sell the marina to Gulf Harbour Investments, which currently leases the site, in exchange for control over the Hammerhead and a sum of $10 million (HM September 5). Panuku wants control over the Hammerhead to ensure continued free public access, which could be under threat once Gulf Harbour Investments exercises its rights under a development licence, potentially preventing free parking.
Panuku had been planning to seek final Council sign off on this deal later this month.
However, Council yesterday called for a comprehensive strategy to be developed covering the six marinas that it owns, which includes the one at Gulf Harbour. While this is being done, it has asked that no sales of any marina land take place.
What the deferral of any sale could mean for the future public use of the Hammerhead is uncertain – should the sale not proceed, it will leave Council with few options to gain control over the Hammerhead other than the Public Works Act, which to date it has said it is not prepared to use.
However, local councillors Wayne Walker and John Watson are hopeful that the strategy will strengthen the case for use of the Public Works Act.
Cr Watson hopes that the strategy will clarify the importance of the Hammerhead as a major transport hub, which provides much needed parking – and the way this demand will increase.
“It will identify the need for a proper ferry terminal, better pedestrian access and cycle parking,” he says. “The numbers using the public boat ramp will also be highlighted.” The public who use the Hammerhead, including berth holders, ferry users and recreational boaties will have input into the strategy and Cr Watson says this informed input will be vital.
“What came out of the meeting is that Council wants a substantial strategy that looks to the future of marinas and their role in transport, recreational boating, public access and environmental protection,” Cr Watson says.
He says the outcome he hopes for is a strong case for use of the Public Works Act to wrest control of the Hammerhead from Gulf Harbour Investments.
There is no timeframe set as yet for consulting on and formulating the strategy, but it could take until well into the New Year.
Panuku strategy portfolio manager Marian Webb confirmed that any decision about the future of Gulf Harbour marina is on hold pending preparation of the strategy.
A Gulf Harbour Investments spokesperson says it awaits developments with interest.