Marina 'rip-off'

Harbour marina berths

“The biggest rip-off in New Zealand” is how a marina berth owner describes annual fees charged by Eastland Port for berths at the inner harbour.

Boat owners who have permanent berths, as well as those who call into port for one night, say prices charged in Gisborne are “astronomical”, and facilities are “terrible”.

Rod McCulloch has been a berth owner in Gisborne for nearly 30 years. He knows how expensive they are in Gisborne because he also has a marina berth in Tauranga.

His 12-metre berth in Gisborne is $4590 a year compared to $2764 in Tauranga.

In Gisborne, berth owners are provided with power, water and the key to an “average” toilet, which often doesn’t have toilet paper. Inner harbour development plans have this building earmarked for demolition.

Tauranga marina facilities include “heaps” of car parking, a rubbish collection service, power, water, toilets, hot showers, washing machines, dryers, ironing boards, restaurants, snack bars, motels, travel lifts and 24-hour surveillance cameras.

“Everything you could imagine,” said Mr McCulloch.

Eastland Port general manager Andrew Gaddum said even taking into account there were 60 long-term berth holders, the port maintained it was uneconomic to build restricted-use shower and toilet facilities for what was a small market.

“The cost of designing and building any new facilities would ultimately be passed on to the berth holders. Eastland Port would be surprised if the majority of berth holders would welcome any additional costs with what is already an expensive piece of local real estate,” said Mr Gaddum. (See page 3 for comment from Eastland Port).

Car parks for boat trailers and cars at the inner harbour are also an issue.

Berth owners said there were not enough parks now but inner harbour development plans show almost all of the parking adjacent to all pier gates will be lost. This included the removal of all 18 parks beside the bar and restaurant Lone Star.

The development plans showed a new toilet would be built by the public boat ramp.

Adding to the inequity for berth holders was how power and maintenance were charged, said Mr McCulloch.

“Any damage done to our marina berths by big boats, which happens when they are not tied up properly, is spread among all the boat owners.

“So everyone has to share the maintenance costs no matter who does the damage.”

The same method applied to how power was divided up. It was not metered, which meant recreational fishers who did not use much paid the same as commercial operators who had large refrigeration units and charging systems.

Letters to The Herald over the summer months also pointed to disquiet from visiting yachties.

One said the $79 charge for one night was “the most exorbitant rate for a New Zealand marina that I am aware of”.

The letter writer, Russ Jones, said it was no way to welcome visiting yacht crews to Gisborne.

“So what does the crew of a visiting vessel get in Gisborne for their $79? They do get a nice new concrete dock to moor to, that’s great, but that’s it. No clean, basic services such as bathroom/toilet facilities are available, as at all other marinas, for visitors.

“These folks had spent several days at sea prior to entering Gisborne and looked forward to some rest and a shower, including a clean toilet.”

It is illegal to discharge toilet waste into New Zealand harbours.

Another berth owner said he knew visiting vessels did discharge human waste into the marina, as they had no choice when they discovered the lack of facilities here.

The toilet available to marina berth owners is the old harbour board one and is described as “pretty average”.

It was only the “goodwill” of the Tatapouri Sports Fishing Club which meant sailors could use their facilities to have a hot shower and go to the toilet. But this only applied when the club was open.

Most out of town boaties arrived in the middle of the night, their arrival time dependent on the weather, over which they had no control.

Exacerbating matters was that if any marina berth owners wanted to sell their berth, Eastland Port had the first right of refusal.

This meant the offer of the new buyer had to be given to Eastland Port, who then had 10 days to decide whether that sale could go ahead or whether they would buy the berth back.

As well, berths that were put out for tender were not allowed to be used for commercial use.

Berth owners felt this devalued their berth asset even further.

Mr McCulloch said it was more of a liability now.

“We paid $28,000 for the berth outright then an ongoing annual fee.”

That annual fee has increased 600 percent over the past 20 years.

“The port company is making money out of us and building flash new ones for cruise ships,” he said.

Yachtie Robyn Deverall said they were shocked at the lack of facilities in Gisborne.

“We were there in January 2019. The marina supervisor told us we could use the Tatapouri Fishing Club for toilets and showers. When I dutifully went looking for a toilet in the middle of the night, instead of using our on-board toilet, I found the club was all locked up.

“The next day I asked about use of the toilets and they informed me that we would have to pay $15 (on top of the $55 a night we were already being charged).

“I found a very dirty toilet at the end of the club, outside it, that had the door open. It was constantly running, had no toilet paper and I was unable to flush it because the header tank was not filling up.

“Why spend such a fortune building such a facility and charge such exorbitant prices when there are no facilities offered? Is the marina actively discouraging people from staying there?

“We sailed from Mana Marina to Houhora Harbour via the East Coast. Everywhere else was wonderful and significantly cheaper.

“What’s your answer to this Eastland Port?”

“The biggest rip-off in New Zealand” is how a marina berth owner describes annual fees charged by Eastland Port for berths at the inner harbour.

Boat owners who have permanent berths, as well as those who call into port for one night, say prices charged in Gisborne are “astronomical”, and facilities are “terrible”.

Rod McCulloch has been a berth owner in Gisborne for nearly 30 years. He knows how expensive they are in Gisborne because he also has a marina berth in Tauranga.

His 12-metre berth in Gisborne is $4590 a year compared to $2764 in Tauranga.

In Gisborne, berth owners are provided with power, water and the key to an “average” toilet, which often doesn’t have toilet paper. Inner harbour development plans have this building earmarked for demolition.

Tauranga marina facilities include “heaps” of car parking, a rubbish collection service, power, water, toilets, hot showers, washing machines, dryers, ironing boards, restaurants, snack bars, motels, travel lifts and 24-hour surveillance cameras.

“Everything you could imagine,” said Mr McCulloch.

Eastland Port general manager Andrew Gaddum said even taking into account there were 60 long-term berth holders, the port maintained it was uneconomic to build restricted-use shower and toilet facilities for what was a small market.

“The cost of designing and building any new facilities would ultimately be passed on to the berth holders. Eastland Port would be surprised if the majority of berth holders would welcome any additional costs with what is already an expensive piece of local real estate,” said Mr Gaddum. (See page 3 for comment from Eastland Port).

Car parks for boat trailers and cars at the inner harbour are also an issue.

Berth owners said there were not enough parks now but inner harbour development plans show almost all of the parking adjacent to all pier gates will be lost. This included the removal of all 18 parks beside the bar and restaurant Lone Star.

The development plans showed a new toilet would be built by the public boat ramp.

Adding to the inequity for berth holders was how power and maintenance were charged, said Mr McCulloch.

“Any damage done to our marina berths by big boats, which happens when they are not tied up properly, is spread among all the boat owners.

“So everyone has to share the maintenance costs no matter who does the damage.”

The same method applied to how power was divided up. It was not metered, which meant recreational fishers who did not use much paid the same as commercial operators who had large refrigeration units and charging systems.

Letters to The Herald over the summer months also pointed to disquiet from visiting yachties.

One said the $79 charge for one night was “the most exorbitant rate for a New Zealand marina that I am aware of”.

The letter writer, Russ Jones, said it was no way to welcome visiting yacht crews to Gisborne.

“So what does the crew of a visiting vessel get in Gisborne for their $79? They do get a nice new concrete dock to moor to, that’s great, but that’s it. No clean, basic services such as bathroom/toilet facilities are available, as at all other marinas, for visitors.

“These folks had spent several days at sea prior to entering Gisborne and looked forward to some rest and a shower, including a clean toilet.”

It is illegal to discharge toilet waste into New Zealand harbours.

Another berth owner said he knew visiting vessels did discharge human waste into the marina, as they had no choice when they discovered the lack of facilities here.

The toilet available to marina berth owners is the old harbour board one and is described as “pretty average”.

It was only the “goodwill” of the Tatapouri Sports Fishing Club which meant sailors could use their facilities to have a hot shower and go to the toilet. But this only applied when the club was open.

Most out of town boaties arrived in the middle of the night, their arrival time dependent on the weather, over which they had no control.

Exacerbating matters was that if any marina berth owners wanted to sell their berth, Eastland Port had the first right of refusal.

This meant the offer of the new buyer had to be given to Eastland Port, who then had 10 days to decide whether that sale could go ahead or whether they would buy the berth back.

As well, berths that were put out for tender were not allowed to be used for commercial use.

Berth owners felt this devalued their berth asset even further.

Mr McCulloch said it was more of a liability now.

“We paid $28,000 for the berth outright then an ongoing annual fee.”

That annual fee has increased 600 percent over the past 20 years.

“The port company is making money out of us and building flash new ones for cruise ships,” he said.

Yachtie Robyn Deverall said they were shocked at the lack of facilities in Gisborne.

“We were there in January 2019. The marina supervisor told us we could use the Tatapouri Fishing Club for toilets and showers. When I dutifully went looking for a toilet in the middle of the night, instead of using our on-board toilet, I found the club was all locked up.

“The next day I asked about use of the toilets and they informed me that we would have to pay $15 (on top of the $55 a night we were already being charged).

“I found a very dirty toilet at the end of the club, outside it, that had the door open. It was constantly running, had no toilet paper and I was unable to flush it because the header tank was not filling up.

“Why spend such a fortune building such a facility and charge such exorbitant prices when there are no facilities offered? Is the marina actively discouraging people from staying there?

“We sailed from Mana Marina to Houhora Harbour via the East Coast. Everywhere else was wonderful and significantly cheaper.

“What’s your answer to this Eastland Port?”

'Too few visiting vessels'

Eastland Port does not offer toilet, shower and laundry facilities because provision of these is uneconomic for the tiny number of visiting passengers requiring short-term berthage.
Relative to other New Zealand marinas, Gisborne gets very few visiting pleasure vessels, and that’s because of our location, says Eastland Port general manager Andrew Gaddum.
“Gisborne’s marina is a long way from nearby ports of call and safe harbours which restricts the type of vessel that can visit and the seasonality of those visits.”
“Owners of visiting pleasure craft, motor boats and yachts generally understand that they need to pay a reasonable rate for their berth, and they don’t expect others to subsidise it.”
“In 2018 only 23 transient vessels berthed for three nights or less, with no visits of this type between the end of April and end of September. Twenty-three visits a year simply does not support the provision of the facilities that the larger marinas can afford to provide.”
Gisborne’s marina was expensive to build because of the effects of infragravity or long waves inside the harbour. The waves lead to wear and tear on facilities and the high maintenance costs are shared by Eastland Port and berth holders.
Berths within the Inner Harbour Marina are licensed to private individuals or organisations with the cost ranging from approximately $5000 to $15,000 per year.
Mr Gaddum says typically, the supply of vacant berths in New Zealand marinas for transient vessels comes from licence holders making their berths available for others to use when they are themselves away sailing.
“We fully support our local licence holders in recovering a fraction of their value on the rare occasion they vacate their berth at the same time as a transient vessel calls into our safe harbour.”
“But as berth holders themselves will tell you, they rarely vacate the berth, and it makes no economic sense for them to reserve empty berths for transient vessels when they can otherwise sub-license their space for the whole year.”
“In between long term licence transfers Eastland Port makes vacant berths available but doesn’t hold on to empty berths so they can be used just a handful of times during the year.”
Berth holders sign licence agreements which lay out how the berths are operated. The terms and conditions cover maintenance costs, power, and the sale process. In the marina, if damage is caused by a specific vessel that vessel pays for it. Power on the new pier at Wharf 3 is metered and meters will be added to any future developments.
Most, if not all, boats visiting the marina have wastewater holding tanks. “There is no reason for these to be discharged within the marina area and to do so would contravene the Resource Management Act,” Mr Gaddum said.
Mr Gaddum commended Gisborne Tatapouri Sports Fishing Club for making its club facilities available. New toilets are currently being built by Gisborne District Council near the boat ramp and these will be available for all marina visitors to use.

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User Pays - 5 months ago
This is a first world problem and totally irrelevant to the vast majority of the population.

John Pedersen, Auckland - 5 months ago
The toilet and shower facilities are good to have . . . Our boats also need holding tanks - at least one to be able to use when visiting marinas, and dump tanks at sea before entering the marina.

Murray, Marsden Cove - 5 months ago
I would say the port/marina is running against their resource consent agreement and should be hauled over the coals. At Marsden Cove a 10.5 metre marina is $130 a week plus a live aboard fee. Why go to Gisborne? Head north instead.

Rowe - 5 months ago
This is shocking. I feel for the boaties who pay more than they should. No wonder no one likes coming into Gisborne by sail boat or similar means, and why there aren't that many fish charters or dive companies.