An application by Whangamata Marina Society for a lease of council-owned land will be considered by Thames-Coromandel District councillors at their full meeting on Wednesday February 27.
The society is seeking a lease of 1.5ha at Hetherington Rd Whangamata to build its land-based marina infrastructure and facilities. It wants a 35 year lease with two rights of renewal taking the total lease period to 105 years.
The society’s application will also be discussed at an extraordinary meeting of the Whangamata Community Board on Tuesday February 26. The full council will take any recommendations from the board into consideration when making their decision on the society’s application.
At the council’s Service Delivery Committee meeting today, committee members debated the benefits of selling the land to the marina society as an alternative option to leasing it. The Service Delivery Committee’s role is to ensure council protects its investment in infrastructural and property assets.
The committee has highlighted various points to be considered including the council’s ability to ‘free up’ the value of the land and use these proceeds to fund other projects, the basis for determining the value of the land if the decision was made to offer it for sale, and the risks for council from having the marina developed on council-owned land.
The Whangamata Community Board had called its extraordinary meeting to obtain further information on issues including protection of public access, community views and preferences, commercial vs community aspects to the marina development and how the council’s lease policy might reflect the split of these.
These were all issues the board felt it did not have clear answers to when asked for the first time to give input about the application at its usual community board meeting earlier this month.
In November 2006 council adopted a new policy dividing leases for public-owned land into three categories. Category 1 charges $100 per annum with three yearly reviews to emergency services such as fire brigades; Catergory 2 charges $350 per annum to clubs, incorporated societies and community groups and all others are charged market rent.
As an incorporated society the marina society would fall under the $350 a year lease structure.
The society has written to council acknowledging there are some commercial activities in the multipurpose building it hopes to build on the site and accepted that these activities should pay a commercial lease.