Getting out on the water is part of the Coromandel dream. But boat ramps and wharves are expensive. How should they be funded? Our Council has general goals of keeping balanced budgets, minimising costs to ratepayers, and retaining current levels of service for the majority of our district's infrastructure and facilities. Boat ramps and wharves are costly to maintain and replace or upgrade when needed. Costs include resource consents and their monitoring, clearing sand and rocks off ramps and their surrounding area, maintenance, repair, and depreciation. Wharves are subject to weather, storms and heavy machinery and are prone to damage. It's expensive to repair them, requiring specialist labour and expensive fittings, for example stainless steel brackets. Our Whitianga and Whangamatā wharves need Ambassadors over summer to keep everyone safe. Here are a few examples of the cost of recent upgrades to some boat ramps and/or wharves: Whangapoua Boat Ramp: $462,000 Royal Billy Point, Tairua, Wharf and Boat Ramp: $1.95M Tairua Wharf and Boat Ramp: $1M This table shows the total income vs expenses (including depreciation) in each of our community board areas for boat ramps and wharves for the last financial year (2020/21): Ratepayers pay the bulk of the cost, with user fees, only charged for parking at some boat ramps, providing relatively little revenue to offset the costs. In addition, our boat ramp parking fees are lower than many other jurisdictions. For example, Marlborough District Council charges $270 for an annual permit. Our Council charges $80 or $90, depending on the community board area. Our daily parking fee is $10; in Napier it is $20. Summary of daily charges at boat ramps nationwide: Summary of annual charges at boat ramps nationwide: Is it fair that ratepayers shoulder the bulk of the burden for the facilities? Our proposed Annual Plan for 2022/23 is out for public consultation until 11 April, and there are some changes proposed in the fee structure for boat ramps and wharves. Go to www.tcdc.govt.nz/annualplan2022 to find out more and make a submission.