Otago Yacht Club commodore Geoff Murray stands above the club's marina. He hopes enough money can be raised to clear silt out of the facility. Photo by Dan Hutchinson.
The Otago Yacht Club may be close to fixing the bane of
many boaties' existence. Dan Hutchinson investigates the
silting problems that have prevented full use of Dunedin's
central city marina and the solution that is tantalisingly
Otago Yacht Club members are ''optimistic'' they will finally
be able to dredge their marina and end many years of
frustration for boat users.
The Otago Regional Council has granted a resource consent to
dredge and dispose of spoil - a consent that can be used by
any of the organisations using the Boat Harbour Recreation
Reserve. Yacht club commodore Geoff Murray said he had
records describing issues with silting up of the area from as
far back as 1890.
For a long time the former Otago Harbour Board used to dredge
and maintain the area to keep channels clear for recreational
users but that stopped when it was commercialised (becoming
Mr Murray said the marina was now ''a city asset but the city
doesn't want to know anything about it'' and the club had
spent a lot of time over the last four years ''battling''
with the regional council and Dunedin City Council to find a
Silt has found its way into the marina over the years, from
the neighbouring Water of Leith and other places, to the
point where access, even by small boats, is impossible at low
Mr Murray said a sticking point had been how to get rid of
the dredged spoil but the resource consent allowed the club
to add it to the spoil from Port Otago, which had consents to
dump harbour silt at Aramoana, Heyward Point and Shelley
The yacht club spoil would make up less than one-tenth of 1%
of the total Port Otago material, he said.
''We are reasonably optimistic that things can go ahead from
this point. It all comes down to cost at the end. If the
[contractor's] price is too high that will be the killer
blow. It has got to be affordable.''
The Dunedin City Council had contemplated using some of the
spoil to create sheltering embankments along the shared
cycle/walkway between the harbour and Ravensbourne, but Mr
Murray said the club had no plans to dump spoil on land.
''The cost of dumping on land is a killer - about five times
the cost of sea removal. We looked at land dumping and if
that has to happen then we won't be doing it.''
Clearing the marina of silt would allow for an extra six
berths for large yachts and would also mean recreational
sailors, including children's groups, would be able to use
the facility all the time.
Mr Murray said it was often the only place sailors could
shelter when the weather picked up.
Dunedin was also a popular place for international sailors to
visit and many left their vessels here over winter because it
was one of the few places in the South Pacific where people
could be sure their vessels would still be there when they
returned, he said.