Ramp fee challenged on legality

Former Southland regional manager of the Department of Conservation Kerry Mawhinney is refusing to pay to launch his boat at Jackson Bay, in South Westland.

Mr Mawhinney, who retired in 1986, believes the Westland District Council has no legal right to collect the $15 fee being charged.

He suggests other boat users should not feel obliged to pay. The area at Jackson Bay where recreational boats are launched is widely referred to as a boat ramp but there is no structure and Mr Mawhinney maintains the council cannot legally charge for the use of the beach.

''The council has been saying no-one has been paying for the use of the boat ramp. But there is no boat ramp and there never has been.''

Mr Mawhinney said he launched his boat at Jackson Bay about 15 times a year.

He ignored a letter from the council two or three years ago about his failure to put money in the box provided.

''They could have threatened to prosecute me. They didn't ever mention anything about prosecution because I doubt very much they've got the power to.''

He has also written to the council recently accusing council-owned Westland District Property Ltd of being arrogant saying it was going to ''trespass everyone for using a public beach''.

When asked what legal right the council had to charge, Westland council chief executive Tanya Winter referred the ODT to its Jackson Bay Wharf bylaw giving the council the right to fix a fee to fund the maintenance and renewal of the wharf and any ''associated facilities''.



Jacksons Bay phantom launching ramp

Yes I got send an account $13.04  plus $17.39 for admin fees plus GST  x 2  ,what a joke trying to charge me for using the Queens chain to enter the water, I would be more than happy to pay a fee if there was a ramp. As it was I had to pay $50.00 to get someone to pull my boat out because the sand was too soft. Do I send that bill to Westland properties? Also we don't use the wharf because it is so bad that you are at risk of damaging your boat and or yourself.  

Jackson Bay Boat ramp

There really is no ramp at all. There is beach access only. If the Westland CEO thinks she is going to get recreational boaties to fund a wharf they don't use then she can think again. If you actually analyse what she says she's all around the point by saying that the beach is an associated facility of the wharf. Good luck there Tanya. [Abridged]

Jackson Bay wharf

I totally agree with Mr Mawhinney's comments and find the Westland County Council's response from Tanya Winter .... arrogant.

Q: How could the council's issues with the repairs and maintenance of the existing wharf possibly become the financial burden of everyday Kiwis launching small pleasure craft over a rocky beach nearby ?