'Extreme' frustration at delayed harbour slipway repair

David Chamberlain
David Chamberlain
A Waimate man says he has been unable to sell his boat, moored in Oamaru Harbour, because of delays in repairs to the Waitaki District Council slipway at the harbour.

David Chamberlain first tried to secure a time to get his boat out of the water for a hull inspection prior to Christmas, but due to demand, he was told he would have make a tentative booking for January 9.

On January 8, when he contacted the council to ensure he would be able to get his boat out of the water, he learned part of the slipway was damaged.

Now, he has been told he will be able to use the slipway later this month, and while he was "delighted'' the council was indicating progress and that he would soon be able to sell his boat, he had been "extremely frustrated'' by the amount of time it had taken to make what he believed was a simple repair.

"It's not rocket science,'' Mr Chamberlain said.

Further, he said what made the matter "doubly frustrating'' was that he would not use the part of the slipway that was broken to get his boat out of the water.

"There are two issues: one, there was this little bit of damage, and secondly, there is the issue of what would be best for Oamaru.

"There probably is quite a demand for something ... It would really be something for the town if they had good facilities for fishing boats and other vessels to be able to be lifted out and worked on. So, there's the long-term thing, but unfortunately they've combined the two issues. And said that `Oh, there's a little bit of damage to the slip, we can't use it, we'd better reassess the whole thing.'''

Council property manager Renee Julius disputed the fact months had gone by without action after the slipway's "cradle arm'' broke in late December.

She said it was the availability of contractors that caused a delay - one which concerned the council as well.

"We had a safety concern, so we got the engineer's report, they have recommended some action, we have prioritised that and we are getting that fixed as we speak,'' Mrs Julius said.

Council assets group manager Neil Jorgensen said he only learned of Mr Chamberlain's concerns about four weeks ago and the council had "tried to prioritise'' the work since.

"If it wasn't a priority before it was certainly re-prioritised to a high priority ... we've made stuff happen, but there's still been a bit of time before we can make it open''.

Mr Jorgensen said "getting the initial inspection did take way longer than we would have liked'' and that "about five'' boats wanted to use the slipway at present.



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